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All contents Copyright ÂŠ the individual authors and used with their permission. All rights reserved.
Robert Macfarlane Interviewed by John Greeves .................................................................................. 7
Hannah Howe—Interviewed by Ronesa Aveela ............................................... 14 Get to know the Characters of You Again by Val Tobin .................................. 25
Laughter is the Best Medicine! by Hannah Howe............................................. 32
The Gift by Katrina Jackson .................................................................................. 18 Him at Number Three by Clayton Graham ........................................................ 28 Beyond Closed Doors by Sue DeCrescenzo ...................................................... 38 What If by Sue DeCrescenzo ................................................................................. 52
Love Is by Stan Phillips .......................................................................................... 27 The Stream by Stan Phillips .................................................................................. 46 Endless Summer by Stan Phillips ........................................................................ 49
Hannah Howe Garden & Glamorgan Coast ....................................................... 44 Melanie P. Smith — Western Wildlife ................................................................. 55
Summer Fun Recipes by Ronesa Aveela ............................................................. 19 Basic Chocolate Chip Cookies by Poppy Flynn ................................................ 36
Resistance Couples by Hannah Howe ................................................................ 10 Modern Classics: Zodiac by T.E. Hodden .......................................................... 22 Things to Celebrate in August by Poppy Flynn ................................................ 33 Johnny Morris the Man Who Brought Animal Magic to Millions ................ 41 Everyone Needs a Laugh by Keith Guernsey .................................................... 48
The Old Bank Bistro: Exploring a Haunted Restaurant by Val Tobin ......... 50
Only You by Val Tobin ........................................................................................... 26 Tales of Tucson by Anthony Randall .................................................................. 47
Stage Fear — Nothing but a State of My Mind by Maya Karthick ................ 12
White to Move—Supplied by Chess.com ........................................................... 17 Word Search by Mom’s Favorite Reads .............................................................. 37
20% OFF First Book Promotion with the Fussy Librarian .............................. 16 Connections eMagazine ......................................................................................... 54
Robert Macfarlane Interviewed by John Greeves
A book born of a place In 2012, I was able to interview Robert Macfarlane about his encounters with these ancient sunken pathways, many of which have become hidden or mislaid like this recently uncovered interview.
Robert Macfarlane, is a well-known British travel writer and naturalist. He is best known for his books on landscape, nature, place, people and language, which include: The Mountain of the Mind (2003), The Old Ways (2012), Landmarks (2015), The Lost Words (2017) and Underland (2019). His books have received including the Guardian His first book was award, the Somerset Maugham Award, and the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award. In later times he has won numerous awards including The Wainwright Prize 2019, The Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year Award (2020) as well as being shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for Political Writing 2020.
The word ‘holloway’ is not to be found in the OED, the word comes from the Anglo Saxon hol weg and refers to a hollow way, a sunken path. A route that centuries of footfall, hoof hit, wheel-roll and rain-run have harrowed deep down into bedrock. These paths lie below the level of the fields through there constant passage of human and animal traffic. ‘They are landmarks that speak of habit,’ as Macfarlane puts it, some being 20 ft deep and more like ravines than lanes, overgrown by the adjacent trees, so they appear as green roofed tunnels, enclosed in a timelessness.
Holloway (2012) is perhaps one of his lesser of Robert Macfarlane lesser known books and was co-authored with Dan Richards and illustrated by Stanley Donwood, (the renowned artist of the Radiohead record covers). It's a slender book, beautifully crafted and illustrated with a text which captures the escapades of Robert Macfarlane and his two companions who explored ancient holloways in South Devon.
This short book records two visits to the hills of Chideock in Dorset, a land bookended by Hardy’s Wessex and John Fowles at Lyme Regis. In the first trip Robert Macfarlane and the late Roger Deakin, author of Waterlog, go in search of the ‘holloway’ mentioned in the classic thriller Rogue Male. The book by Geoffrey Household recounts a tale of the hero who takes refuge in a deep holloway. Later, Robert wrote about it in The Wild Places and Roger Deakin in his Notes from Walnut Tree Farm. Sadly Roger died the summer after the trip.
The word ‘holloway’ is not to be found in the OED, the word comes from the Anglo Saxon hol weg and refers to a hollow way, a sunken path. A route that centuries of footfall, hoof hit, wheel-roll and rain-run have harrowed deep down into bedrock. -7-
Q2. What thoughts go through your minds as you walk these ancient paths? Can you give an example?
Six years later, after Deakin’s early death, Robert Macfarlane returned to the holloway with artist Stanley Donwood and writer Dan Richards. The weather was an array of bright white mists, monsoon rains, buffeting autumn gales and sunshine. The small party spent two days following the holloways on bicycle and foot and began their journey on Pilsden Pen, an Iron Age Hill Fort.
Ancient paths - old ways, holloways, pilgrim paths, Neolithic tracks - have all been brought into being by the footfall (and wheel-roll) of many previous walkers. As I walk such routes I'm fascinated, like many people I think, by the awareness of these previous walkers, but also by the impossibility of knowing who might have passed that way before. There is also, of course, the combination of the ancient and the immediate: you might be walking a path which was first followed five thousand years previously, but the birdsong that is pouring down onto you from a skylark, or the weather blowing across you, is of the pure present.
The first half is written by Robert and the second half by Dan, telling the story of these two journeys. The book emulates the echoic nature of the holloway, capturing its various nuances in a canopy of poetic prose. It’s illustrated beautifully throughout by Stanley, with many drawings taking over two thousand overlapping pencil strokes to encapsulate the holloway. The original small book was hand-pressed by the printer Richard Lawrence. 277 original copies, (the same metric height of Pilsden Pen, the Iron Age hill-fort) were first produced. Then Faber proposed republishing Holloway in a hardback edition. This slender book is unique in several ways; it’s a true labour of love involving a myriad of words, voices and images, a wonderful book born of place and one I was anxious to ask Robert more about.
Q3. Did you feel you flushed out by a strange past and if so what was it? Ah, well now we get onto the specific strangenesses and enigmas of the book itself, and the several stories it (rather obliquely) tells. Certainly, we were flushed out by a strange past (a lovely way of putting it). Or, as one reader expressed it to me after reading the book, "I'm not quite sure what happened and I expect you aren't either, but you certainly disturbed what was concealed." The strange past? Well, whatever it was, it has something to do with the Chideock valley's peculiarly repetitive histories of fugitives (from Catholic martyrs to English aristocrats), and with the odd space of the holloway, itself brought into being by repetition (those feet falling over the centuries, grooving it into the ground, and making of it a kind of den).
Q1. What would you like readers to take away from this book Robert?
A sense of the mystery that certain landscapes hold; an idea of the strangeness and wildness that even apparently familiar places can still contain. -8-
Q4. This book is a collaboration with its writing, illustration and making. To what extent has the collaborative work added to the encounter with the book? To me, it was a huge pleasure and privilege to collaborate: with one of the great letterpress printers of the country (Richard Lawrence, who cast and set the type from fresh lead for the original edition of the book, and then handprinted it); with one of the great artists of the country (Stanley Donwood, who exhibits internationally and on whom Tate Modern are publishing a big book next year); and with a terrific young writer called Dan Richards, full of energy and originality in person and on the page, who really caused the whole curious affair to come to pass. It seemed, too, appropriate to work collaboratively on a book about a landmark (the holloway) which had itself been made by many people. Q5. To what extent are holloways a metaphor for life?
first half, written by me. We wanted echoes to be set up between the pages and between the parts, with the reader finding his or her way through the overlapping branches of the book, as it were - further in to mystery, rather than towards clarification. This is not a guidebook to the green lanes of Dorset; it is a slim and intricate attempt to catch at, but not pin down, something of the complex magic of the holloway and places like it.
Thank you Robert ‘Few holloways are now in use; they are too narrow and slow to suit modern travel, too deep to be filled in and farmed over. They exist -but cryptically’, Robert maintains in his book. They have thrown up their own defences and disguises to the modern day, guarded now by nettles and brambles at their entrances, with the topmost branches bent to form a leafy tunnel of concealment that awaits our discovery.
The idea of 'life' as a way or path is surely one of the oldest - and most culturally widespread metaphors for existence, there from AngloSaxon through to Buddhism. I'm not sure holloways really refine that notion any further. Q6 The writing in the second part is more oblique, the narrative less defined. How should the reader in your opinion view this? The second part is written by Dan, and takes the form of something more like prose-poems, compared to the compressed - but still narrative -
Holloway By Robert Macfarlane Stanley Donwood & Dan Richards Published by Faber ISBN 978-0-571-30271-0
John Greeves is a creative writing tutor. He originally hails from
Lincolnshire. He gained a Masters degree at Cardiff University and previously worked at Sussex University. When he’s not teaching for Continuing and Professional Education, he writes poetry, short stories and features, and runs the occasional workshop. -9-
Resistance Couples: Lucie & Raymond Aubrac by Hannah Howe Lucie Samuel, better known as Lucie Aubrac, was born on 29 June 1912. A history teacher in peacetime, Lucie became a leading member of the French Resistance. In 1939, Lucie married Raymond Aubrac and after the Nazis occupied France in 1940 the couple joined the Resistance. In 1941, the Aubrac’s group sabotaged the train stations at Perpignan and Cannes, and distributed thousands of antiNazi flyers. Despite harassment and threats from the Nazis, the Aubracs published an underground newspaper, Libération. With the help of local printers and trade-unionists, 10,000 copies of Libération were produced and distributed in July 1941, bringing news and hope to the French people; a reminder that the pen is indeed mightier than the sword.
Under French law, engaged couples were allowed to marry if one of them was soon to die. Therefore, Lucie claimed that Raymond was her fiancé. She was pregnant at the time, carrying her second child (of three). Lucie informed the Nazis that Raymond’s name was “Ermelin” (one of his many aliases) and that he had been caught in a raid while innocently visiting a doctor. She claimed that she was unmarried and that Raymond was the father of her expected child.
In March 1943, the Gestapo arrested Raymond. In May, they released him, only to arrest him again in June. With Raymond sentenced to death, Lucie concocted an audacious escape plan.
Furthermore, Lucie pleaded with the Gestapo that they should allow Raymond to marry her before his execution. The Gestapo believed her story and granted her wish. Later, after the ‘marriage’ ceremony, as the Gestapo escorted Raymond back to his prison the local Resistance executed Lucie’s plan. In cars, they ambushed the prison lorry and liberated fifteen prisoners. In the melee, Lucie freed Raymond and the couple escaped. In 1944, Lucie was the first woman to sit in a French parliamentary assembly and in 1945 she published a short history of the French Resistance. - 10 -
Outwitting the Gestapo, a semi-fictional version of Lucie’s wartime diaries, followed in 1984. Lucie published her book after notorious psychopath, Klaus Barbie ‘The Butcher of Leon’ claimed that Raymond had betrayed the Resistance after his arrest. Undoubtedly, there were factions and conflicts within the Resistance, particularly between the Gaullists and the Communists. As a result of these conflicts, betrayals did occur. However, when seeking the truth it is difficult to place great faith in a psychopath, particularly one who had reason to hate the Aubracs. In support of the Aubracs, twenty leading Resistance survivors published a letter, condemning the accusations. Voluntarily, the Aubracs appeared before a panel of leading French historians. After examining the case, the historians concluded that Raymond was not a traitor. To date, the Aubracs’ story has featured in two films – Boulevard des hirondelles, 1992, and Lucie Aubrac, 1997. While, in 1996, Lucie was awarded the Legion of Honor by the French government for her heroism during the Second World War.
While President François Hollande said, “In our darkest times, he [Raymond] was, with Lucie Aubrac, among the righteous, who found, in themselves and in the universal values of our Republic, the strength to resist Nazi barbarism.”
President Nicolas Sarkozy, in a statement after Raymond’s death in 2012, said that Raymond’s escape from the Nazis had “become a legend in the history of the Resistance” and praised him and all Resistance members as “heroes of the shadows who saved France’s honor, at a time when it seemed lost.”
Lucie once said: “Resistance is not just something locked away in the period 1939-45. Resistance is a way of life, an intellectual and emotional reaction to anything which threatens human liberty.”
Hannah Howe is the author of the Sam Smith Mystery Series, the Ann's War Mystery Series and the #1 international bestseller Saving Grace. Hannah's books are published by Goylake Publishing and distributed through Gardners Books to over 300 outlets worldwide. Her books are available in print, as eBooks and audiobooks, and are being translated into ten languages. Discover more on Mom's Favorite Reads website:
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Stage Fear — Nothing, but a State of My Mind! Submitted by Poppy Flynn Written by Maya Sara Karthik (10 Years Old)
Butterflies in my stomach! No, rats running around! Shivers through my body and my legs shaking! Drops of sweat on my forehead! These are the symptoms of my stage fear.
But, at the end of the day, the embarrassment is short-lived and the uncomfortable feeling never lasts long.
I've been performing on stage since I was two years old, be it singing, dancing, ballet recitals, skits, etc. But I always had stage fear, and I think I will always have stage fear. I tend to perform very well in front of people with who I am familiar. But I get scared when I am in front of a large gathering of people who I am not familiar with. And, also when I'm performing something that isn't my strong point.
So why was I even afraid? Here are five ways I use to overcome my stage fear:
So, I've asked myself so many times why do I get this stage fright? I am convinced that it is because of 2 reasons:
1. First, I make a connection with the audience. Smile at people and look at them as friends who are helping me and not as enemies.
Performance Anxiety - I feel I might not do well
2. I start the performance with a smile and enjoy it throughout (that will help me forget my stage fear).
Judgment Anxiety - I fear people will judge me
3. I remember what my mom always tells me - train my subconscious mind. Stop scaring myself with negative thoughts. Instead, focus on my strengths. (It is easier said than done)
When the anxiety gets the better of me, that's when I forget my lines or dance steps. I choke!
4. Practice! Practice! Practice! - Prepare very well. - 12 -
5. Visualize the victory. I practice well, I perform well, and I'm continuously learning to overcome my stage fear every day!
How do YOU overcome your stage fear (if you have it)? I would love to learn from you!
Maya Sara Karthik is ten years old and an award-winning author. She is a voracious reader and loves the fantasyfiction genre. She owns a blog where she pens her thoughts (and, occasionally poems) regularly. https://www.mayasarakarthik.com/ She reviews all children’s books she reads and posts them on her Instagram and Facebook accounts (Handle: WriterMaya)
Maya’s book titled the The Pari and Kayal Adventures - Saved by Sid: An Enchanting Story about Kindness and Friendship can be found on Amazon and is available on Kindle Unlimited.
Inspired by her father’s bedtime stories with lots of magical characters, Maya wrote her first book - The Pari and Kayal Adventures. Besides reading and writing, Maya enjoys dancing and swimming and spending time with her friends and family. She lives in Chennai, India.
It is an inspiring and entertaining tale that teaches kids about siblings’ love, the power of kindness and friendship, and the importance of not judging people or situations instantly.
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Hannah Howe Interviewed by Ronesa Aveela Hannah Howe lives on the South Wales coast with her family. At her teacher’s request, she wrote the school play when she was ten years old and she’s been writing ever since. Her hobbies include reading, music, chess, genealogy and classic black and white movies.
About the Series Title: Eve’s War: The Heroines of SOE Series Location: Europe Country Setting: France, Scotland Genre: Historical Fiction Audience: Adult Time period: Second World War
What is your passion about this country? My passion is not specifically about France, it’s about Europe. I live in Wales, I am Welsh, but I am also a European. World events, including the crisis we are currently enduring, show that you cannot create artificial borders. We live on, and share, one planet. We need to accept that. Post Second World War, politicians, including Winston Churchill, recognised that a united Europe was essential to ensure peace and stability. With the passing of the Second World War generation we are losing their collective memory and are set to make the same mistakes again. Turn back the clock a hundred years and you will see similarities with our own age. History tells us what happened next.
Interview Tell us a little about the Eve’s War series. My Eve’s War: The Heroines of SOE Series is a series of twelve novellas. Each story is based on real events. My narrator, Eve, and her SOE colleagues, Guy Samson and Mimi Duchamp, are composite characters based on the SOE agents who served in France during the Second World War. As with the historical background, the personal aspects of their stories are based on real life events.
Why did you choose it for you setting? I believe subjects choose authors, not authors choose subjects. Therefore, the subject-matter determined the setting. The specific settings: Marseille, the Scottish Highlands, Brittany and Paris were determined through my characters and history: Eve found herself in Marseille when the Nazis occupied France; SOE agents trained in the Scottish Highlands in secret, away from - 14 -
What will readers discover about this country when they read your book?
prying eyes; I chose Brittany because of personal experience and because the location allowed my characters to move on to Paris and witness its liberation. Europe was the main battleground in the fight against fascism with D-Day and the landings in Normandy the key events. Those events also determined the location for my Eveâ€™s War series.
They will discover what life was like for the French people during the occupation. Some collaborated with the Nazis, most kept a low profile, while the bravest of the brave stood up for what they believed in and fought their oppressors, sometimes at great personal cost. - 15 -
They fought for liberty. Every free person owes them a great debt. The SOE agents knew from the outset that they had a 50% chance of survival. In many ways the situation was worse for the French members of the Maquis and Resistance because while the SOE agents had the prospect of escape, the locals had nowhere to run. If exposed or betrayed they and their families would suffer. Yet, many people accepted that risk and were central to the fall of fascism.
What other books have you written? I’ve written the following books and series The Sam Smith Mystery Series, which is mainly set in Wales, although Sam has travelled to Bulgaria, the Netherlands and Boston.
She will visit more countries in the future, particularly in Europe. The Ann’s War Mystery Series, which is set on the Home Front in Wales during the Second World War. Saving Grace, a Victorian mystery based on a true story, which is set in Wales in 1876. The Olive Tree: A Spanish Civil War Saga. This series starts and ends in Wales but, as the title suggests, the main focal points are the battlegrounds of Spain. Colette: A Schoolteacher’s War is a forthcoming novel that will explore the Nazi occupation of France, the Resistance and D-Day from a French perspective.
Ronesa Aveela is “the creative power of two.” Two authors that is. The main force behind the work, the creative genius, was born in Bulgaria and moved to the US in the 1990s. She grew up with stories of wild Samodivi, Kikimora, the dragons Zmey and Lamia, Baba Yaga, and much more. Her writing partner was born and raised in the New England area. She has a background in writing and editing, as well as having a love of all things from different cultures. She’s learned so much about Bulgarian culture, folklore, and rituals, and writes to share that knowledge with others. https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/ronesa-aveela/
We are excited to announce that Goylake Publishing has teamed-up with the Fussy Librarian and in partnership we are offering you 20% off your first book promotion with the Fussy Librarian. To qualify for this promotion, your book must be either permafree or listed free during a special offer.
In our experience, the Fussy Librarian is the best book promoter in the business. When we promote with him, our free books always reach the top five of Amazon’s genre charts, most often they reach the top three. We promote with the Fussy Librarian every month and will continue to do so into the foreseeable future. Prices start from as low as $15, minus our special discount of 20%. Click here: https://authors.thefussylibrarian.com/?ref=goylake for full details. And, at the checkout, be sure to enter this code: goylake20 to claim your 20% discount. Thank you for your interest. And good luck with your promotion! - 16 -
Chess Supplied by Chess.Com A two move puzzle with a discovered threat. White to move.
Supplied by https://chess.com the #1 chess website. Used with permission. For more chess puzzles please visit https://chess.com You can find answers for this activity on the Momâ€™s Favorite Reads website here: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/magazines/activities/ - 17 -
The Gift by Katrena Jackson When I told my sister that I was writing a story about the best gift I had ever received, she said “That’s easy. It has to be the new Corvette you got for your anniversary. I said No. it’s actually something much nicer. In the 80’s I was living in Houston, my husband was ill and I had one child at home and the other in college. In addition, I was working full time and going to school in the evenings. My Mother lived in Atlanta on a small fixed income and I was finding it difficult to contribute to her as I had in the past.
He said he had a nice Citrine ring. When he brought it out, he took my hand in his and said. You are Mrs. Shore’s daughter, Katrena. I was surprised. I asked him how he knew. He pointed to the Tiffany ring and said, “Your Mom laid this ring away with me and paid me every month for 5 years. Every time she came in, she explained it was for her daughter, who was so smart, was going back to school while raising a family and who took such good care of her. Occasionally she would come in and bring a little extra money, She said you had sent it to her. Once it was paid for, she said she was going to give it to you in person.
Mom came to Houston for a few weeks and she told me she had a gift for me. She said “its very expensive, you need to insure it. It was a beautiful ring. When she said it was by Tiffany I figured she had been scammed. But the ring looked authentic and it was beautiful. I didn’t insure it because I felt it must be a good copy, maybe cubic zirconia. But it became my favorite ring because Mom had given it to me.
Tears welled in my eyes. I thought of the sacrifice my Mom made to give me this gift. Turns out it was a genuine Tiffany ring with the highest quality stones, but none of that was as important to me as the fact that my Mother had given it to me (one of her 6 daughters) and said such nice things about me to a stranger
Fast forward 10 years, my Mother has passed away. One day on a whim, I decided to stop at a pawn shop. I collect vintage jewelry and watches and you never know what you will find. I went in and told the Pawnbroker that I was looking for a Citrine stone.
After working years in Insurance Management and raising five children, I am currently retired. I have written poetry since I was a child and write occasionally for a local Writing Club and a Storytelling Club. I am an avid journal keeper and write during my various worldwide travels. I enjoy Art and Music and frequently take courses in both to enhance my skills. I live in Gainesville Ga in an Active Adult community
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Summer Fun Recipes Submitted by Ronesa Aveela During these hot summer days, many people eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and fewer heavy meals. Bulgarian cuisine is not any different. Some of my favorites summer dishes are made with yogurt. Did you know Bulgarians created yogurt? Truly, they did. Way back in the time of the Thracians. I kid you not. You can find more than three hundred varieties in the country, and many popular dishes are made with yogurt. The good bacteria in the yogurt is called Lactobacillus bulgaricus. Yogurt is a favorite ingredient in summer drinks, cold soups, salads, desserts, and main dishes. Another main ingredient in almost all of them is garlic. Here are some of my favorites.
Airan (Айран) – a refreshing drink
Mix yogurt into a glass of water. Add a little salt and stir well to obtain a consistent mixture. I add one or two ice cubes. It refreshes, saturates, and hydrates.
Snow White Salad – (Snejanka) a delicious milk salad
During the summer or even in the winter, my kids like this salad. I use the same products that are described for Tarator, but I don’t add water. If you have time, you can let the yogurt drain to make it thicker. Mix all products and serve cold like a salad. Add some pita bread and you have a dinner or lunch. It can be used as a side dish for BBQ meat or gyros.
Tarator (Таратор) – cold cucumber soup This will help you cool down in the hot summer.
Ingredients: cucumbers – 1 larger European or 2 medium sized • •
yogurt – 32 oz (2 lb)
walnuts – 1 handful crushed (optional)
garlic – 2 to 3 cloves or to taste
water – 2-3 cups
fresh dill – to taste
olive oil or regular – 3 to 4 tbsp.
salt to taste
Black pepper – freshly ground to taste
White pepper — 3 pinches
Peel the cucumbers, leaving only thin slices of the dark green part, which will give a more pleasant look to the tarator. Grate it or cut it into small cubes. I prefer to grate, because it tastes better. Beat 2 cups of yogurt well and pour them into a saucepan. Add enough cold water to get the tarator to the density you want. Add cucumbers, as well as grated or finely chopped garlic, some crushed walnuts, finely chopped dill, black and white pepper to taste. Finally, mix with olive oil / other oil and salt to taste. Put in the refrigerator to chill. If you don’t have time, put an ice cube in each bowl. I like to serve in bowls and garnish with crushed walnuts and a sprig of dill and serve. - 19 -
Zucchini with Yogurt – A simple, but yummy salad
Here is another salad you can make easy with fried zucchini.
Trim the ends off the zucchini and cut it into thin slices or strips (circles or long strips).
Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Place the zucchini in an oven-proof skillet or pan and broil, flipping occasionally, about 10 minutes until slightly charred and tender, but not mushy.
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
1 small clove garlic, grated
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
freshly ground black pepper
1 lb (500 g) zucchini
1 teaspoon olive oil
Final Steps: Remove from broiler. Serve zucchini warm or chilled, covered or dipped in the yogurt-dill sauce. Alternatives: If you want a richer taste, coat the zucchini with flour. Place the pieces (circles or strips) into a frying pan with about a half inch of heated oil. Fry the zucchini pieces until they are golden brown and crispy. In the summer, you can use a grill instead.
Cook under broiler. Prepare Dill Mixture •
In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, dill, garlic, and lemon juice. If necessary add a few drops of water to make the mixture of pourable consistency.
Season to taste with salt and a pinch of black pepper.
Eggs over yogurt – a light and quick dinner After a busy day, you can prepare a quick Bulgarian dinner.
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eggs – 2 to 3.
yogurt – 4 to 5 Tablespoons
red pepper – 1/2 k. (spicy or sweet)
salt to taste
oil – for frying
small spoonful of butter to add some twist; we love butter!
In heated but not hot oil, add each of the eggs. Fry them like you do sunny side up. I do mine medium, to make sure they’re soft. On a plate on which you’ll serve the eggs, pour the yogurt, salt to taste, and garlic. Remove the fired eggs from the oil with a slotted spoon or spatula and place on the yogurt. Sprinkle them with paprika and pour a teaspoon or two of melted butter on them. Serve with toast and green garlic or onion.
Yogurt with honey and walnuts – a tasty dessert
Spoon the yogurt into a small dessert dish. Sprinkle crushed walnuts on top. You can toast the walnuts lightly in a hot skillet if you’d like, to bring out more of their natural flavor. I like to put them in water, then rinse and sprinkle them with brown sugar. Next, put them on a paper towel and bake them for one minute in a microwave. Once they’re cold, sprinkle the nuts over the yogurt. Then top it with cinnamon and drizzle with honey. Serve and enjoy! And don’t forget to make a tea with a spoonful of honey.
Last, but not the least, it’s time for dessert. If you don’t like honey, you can replace it with strawberries. It’s a delicious dessert that’s healthy and easy to make. Your kids will love this no-bake treat that’s full of protein. Tip: When buying yogurt, make sure the Lactobacillus bulgaricus bacteria is listed in the ingredients.
1/2 cup yogurt
1 Tablespoon crushed walnuts
cinnamon to taste
1 Tablespoon honey, more or less, to taste.
For more traditional Bulgarian recipes, get a copy of our cookbook, Mediterranean and Bulgarian Cuisine: 12 Easy Traditional Favorites.
Ronesa Aveela is “the creative power of two.” Two authors that is. The main force behind the work, the creative genius, was born in Bulgaria and moved to the US in the 1990s. She grew up with stories of wild Samodivi, Kikimora, the dragons Zmey and Lamia, Baba Yaga, and much more. Her writing partner was born and raised in the New England area. She has a background in writing and editing, as well as having a love of all things from different cultures. She’s learned so much about Bulgarian culture, folklore, and rituals, and writes to share that knowledge with others. https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/ronesa-aveela/ - 21 -
Modern Movie Classics: Zodiac by T.E. Hodden Robert Graysmith’s two books on the Zodiac killer, Zodiac and Zodiac Unmasked, are gripping tales of true crime, tracking Graysmith’s long fascination with, and attempts to identify, the Zodiac Killer.
epic, and a taut, engaging thriller. It is a dark tale, and a mesmerising film, that I believe is worthy of being remembered as a modern classic.
Graysmith first began keeping a scrapbook on the case while working as a cartoonist in a San Francisco newspaper at the time of the initial murders in the sixties, and spent ten years researching his first book on the case, that was eventually published in the eighties, with a sequel published in the noughties.
Exhibit A: The Tapestry
Graysmith is central to our narrative through the film, but the nature of the mystery means it is a far bigger story than just his experiences. The film weaves together the events of the Zodiac’s killings, and the investigations, by police forces, journalists, and others, in a way that always makes the diverse threads feel very much a part of a whole.
The series of murders, and the strange letters sent to the police and media, cast a long spectre over society and pop culture, and yet we are far more likely to remember the fictionalised take of Dirty Harry, than the real terror that made parents wary of putting their children on school busses. David Fincher’s 2007 movie, written by James Vanderbilt, chronicles the investigation through Graysmith’s (here played by Jake Gyllenhaal) obsession. It draws many of the scenes directly from the books, but frames them in a context of Graysmith’s personal life, making them far more human, and as such, making the victims and those touched by the shadow of the killer feel far more human too.
However, there are some nice touches that make these threads feel distinct, too. Fincher makes some subtle choices, so when we follow a character, what we see and hear is shaped by their perceptions. We follow them in tight focus. When a pair of lovers are by the lake, and glimpse a figure in the distance. We don’t cut to a shot of the Zodiac creeping up on them, or a different camera angle to better explain what is going on, we only get a clear look at him when he steps out right in front of them.
Starting with the killer’s first roadside shootings at the end of the sixties, at which point Graysmith was working in a busy San Francisco newsroom that receives one of a series of taunting letters from the killer (including their infamous coded messages), and tracking the confirmed murders, the police investigation, and the involvement of a broad cast of characters, to the publication of Graysmith’s book, and beyond, this is a movie that pulls the neat trick of both being a sprawling, decades long
In another sequence, our focus is held tightly inside a car, with a stranger offering to fix a tyre lost in shadow and rain, with only the few details the witness will later be certain of, picked out in a few shots. The effect is unnerving, and although it lends a strong sense of authenticity to the movie, its big strength is in capturing the mood of uncertainty, - 22 -
Exhibit C: Who Is That Man?
and fear, that the Zodiac infused San Francisco with.
As different characters encounter the Zodiac, and describe him differently to the Police, the killer is portrayed in four distinct ways, by three different actors, to match their descriptions. The result is eerily effective, leaving us unsure how far we can trust our own assumptions and deductions about the case.
Exhibit B: The Ensemble
The movie has a strong ensemble cast. Gyllenhaal’s Graysmith is often partnered with jaded crime correspondent and heavy drinker Paul Avery, played with a nervous intensity by Robert Downey Junior, his performance shifting from aloof snark, to a man far out of his depth when one of the killer’s many letters threatens him personally.
When Graysmith closes in on the suspect he believes is behind the killings, we can’t be sure. He looks about right, but isn’t he a bit taller, or bulkier, and doesn’t he move in a different way from the killer did? Graysmith is sure of his conclusions, and the moment he meets the suspect is chilling, but we aren’t afforded his certainty.
Mark Ruffalo and Anthony Edwards are thoroughly engaging as SFPD inspectors Toschi and Armstrong. Edward’s Armstrong is a quiet and straight laced professional with a fatherly air about him. Toschi was the real life influence behind Steve McQueen’s Bullit, and Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry, and Ruffalo plays him as a man haunted by, rather than revelling in, the expectations that kind of reputation brings. Both are world weary cops, all too aware of the scrutiny the case is bringing upon them, for better or worse.
After all, at the time of release of the movie, SFPD had marked the case as inactive just three years before, and opened it again in the year of release.
Vallejo PD were still investigating as recently as 2018.
Exhibit D: Times Change
Given the length of time the movie covers, it should be noted that Lynch finds interesting ways to convey the passing of the years, without the film feeling like a slog, or losing our interest. Time lapse images, like a skyscraper rising, and the metal frame becoming a full building, track the flow, without breaking the tone, or feeling like a forced jump. They bridge scenes nicely, and have an organic feel, that suggests as much about the characters as it does the nuts and bolts of the story.
Their chemistry is perfect, and they feel like partners who have worked together for years, in a far more believable and natural way than the comedic buddy-cop dynamic that other movies might have opted for.
John Carrol Lynch turns up in the thankless role of a suspect, but balances his moments perfectly, between how he was perceived by those who brought him to the attention of the Police, and with being the ordinary guy trying to get on with his life.
And this, of course, is very much a character driven piece. We are seeing time rolling of, but it is life that is ticking by, with the characters caught by, or escaping, the magnetic pull of the events they are caught in.
The ever fantastic Brian Cox gives a great performance as Melvin Belli, reaching out to the killer, on live television, and getting a call in reply.
A telling scene comes when Graysmith is tracking down a potential link to a small cinema, and the film it was showing at the time of the murders, he slowly begins to realise that the guy he is interviewing isn’t somebody who might identify a suspect, but the suspect himself. Following the
Perhaps my favourite performance was Chloe Sevigny as Melanie, Graysmith’s long suffering wife, whose saint-like patience is tested, and strained, from her first date with Graysmith, through his growing obsession with the case. - 23 -
guy down to a basement, with a growing sense of unease, and claustrophobia (with somebody else seemingly in the house too), we can see the moment in Gyllenhaal’s eyes, that he realises he never actually thought what he would do if he found the killer, or found himself face to face with a dangerous suspect.
kinetic direction of Alien 3 and The Game, to the more fluid, and cleaner framing of Gone Girl, Girl wit the Dragon Tattoo, and The Social Network, any of which could equally deserve their place as a Modern Classic.
We can see the pieces falling together, and his growing understanding of just how much danger he had happily walked headlong into.
I took the liberty of choosing the double myself today, because in my mind, there really is only one choice: Don Siegal’s 1971 fictionalisation of the case, Dirty Harry. Clint Eastwood’s iconic role became the template for every action hero cop that followed him, right up until Die Hard broke Hollywood out the rut, which is pretty ironic, seeing as “Dirty” Harry Callaghan was clearly meant to be a dinosaur who belonged in another age: the militaristic cops better suited to the old west, or strike breakers, who was too old fashioned for the modern world of community policing and evolving society.
Make Mine A Double
It is a great scene that plays with our perceptions of time. For us, it has only been the run time of the movie, and we have been on the edge of our seats the whole time. For him it has been years, more than enough time to grow complacent, and to be blinkered by his determination to unravel the mystery.
This thriller can be a disturbing watch, but is worth it. Underrated and often forgotten at the time, it has rightfully built a cult following as a character driven, and suspenseful chronicle of one of America’s most infamous mysteries. It strips away much of the myth, to reveal the deeply disturbing history, and anchors the story firmly in a cast of interesting characters. This may not have been the instant hit, and reached the same iconic status as Se7en, or Fight Club, but in my opinion this is the better thriller, made after Fincher had honed his craft, and his eye for the perfect shot. I’m not going to deny those films are classic, but I will suggest that Zodiac is a turning point for Fincher in the same way that Psycho was a turning point for Hitchcock.
His case though, was ‘ripped from the headlines’ story telling, with the Scorpio Killer communicating in much the same way as the Zodiac, and making similar threats to busses full of school kids, threats that the Scorpio puts into action. The best written, and directed of the Dirty Harry films, with far more depth and charm than the sequels, this is a far better film than the one speech (where Harry seems to be the only action movie cop whose gun really does only carry six shots) that everybody remembers.
It is a turning point in style, from the brutal and
T.E. Hodden trained in engineering and works in a specialized role in the transport industry. He is a life long fan of comic books, science fiction, myths, legends, and history. In the past he has contributed to podcasts, blogs, and anthologies. Discover more on Mom’s Favorite Reads website: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/t-e-hodden/ - 24 -
Ellen Haddigan from You Again Interviewed by Momâ€™s Editorial Team We asked leading authors how their characters would respond to the Proust Questionnaire.
https://books2read.com/youagain An insight into Val Tobinâ€™s character, Ellen Haddigan from You Again What are your favourite qualities in a man? I respect a man who dedicates himself to his
career, but he should still have room in his life for me. If we're together, I expect to have a say in where we live and how we run our lives. I also want to have serious chemistry between us. He should make my insides flip-flop when our gazes meet or our hands touch. We should share common interests too. What do you appreciate the most in your friends? Support for one another, affection, trust. I found all that in my best friend, Rhonda. She's always there for me, and she helped me learn about myself and showed me how important the little things can be. What is your main fault? I avoid confrontation and run from anything stressful or unpleasant--but that can be a life saver. Any fault can be an asset if you use it at the correct time, you know. What is your favourite pastime? Shopping and eating. Sigh. What is your idea of happiness? Packages arriving.
If not yourself, who would you be? Jensen Ackles's pants. What is your favourite colour and flower? Purple and lilacs. Who are your favourite painters and musicians? Monet and Billie Eilish Who are your favourite prose authors and poets? My fave author is J. K. Rowling. I loved the Harry Potter books when I was a kid. My mom read them to me. For poets, I'd have to say Samuel Coleridge. Who are your favourite heroes in fiction? From The Lord of the Rings, Aragorn, of course. Michael Valiant from The Valiant Chronicles. Who are your favourite heroines in fiction? Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter books. Also Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games. - 25 -
Momâ€™s Favorite Reads Author New Release by Val Tobin
You Again by Val Tobin
The man she never wanted to see again has returned ... After a three-year struggle with a shattered heart and a stalled career, Ellen Haddigan once more feels as if her life is on track. She's two-years settled into a new job at an accounting company and considers getting back into the dating scene.
Then Gabriel Duncan, the man who stole her heart and abandoned her after one night of passion, appears. He's still handsome, charming, and stirs in her a powerful attraction. He's also assigned as her new client. Things grow more complicated when Ellen learns her predecessor on the account was murdered. Is Gabriel a killer or the victim of an elaborate conspiracy? Can Ellen give Gabriel a second chance without risking her heart or losing her life?
A stand-alone novel, You Again mixes suspense with passion in the Forever Young series.
Val Tobin writes speculative fiction and searches the world over for the perfect butter tart. Her home is in Newmarket, Ontario, where she enjoys writing, reading, and talking about writing and reading. Discover more about Val on Momâ€™s Favorite Reads website: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/val-tobin
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Love Is by Stan Phillips
Love is. It just is. Like the sun or moon, It exists. Like the stars or the seas, It floats unconditionally, inevitably in our experience of existence.
Which, like the taming of the whirlwind, cannot be done. For love is. Just is. And will neither be controlled. Or understood. It merely exists.
And though we find a way to shift and shape our lives with the moods of the sun and moon and stars and seas as their vagrant progress goes enigmatically on. It is our inability to recognise the multifaceted faces of love that are presented to us during our uncertain days that creates our doubt. Causes us to put conditions upon it. Which, like the taming of the whirlwind, cannot be done.
And, like the scent of a flower shrouded night, if we are fortunate, we might get to experience the fleeting fragrance of it just once. And that is sufficient. Stan Phillips 2020 ©
Stan Phillips is an 80 year old poet, musical podcast maker, part-time wannabe male model, and occasional stand up comedian. “I used to be a psychotherapist/counsellor when I had an honest job. I was born into prewar London, and attended 17 schools (my father believed they couldn’t hit a moving target) and I eventually finished up here in Ireland. Still wondering what I will be when I grow up — but enjoying writing my quirky poetry as I do so.” Discover more about Stan on Mom’s Favorite Reads website: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/stan-phillips - 27 -
Him At Number Three by Clayton Graham
Manchester, England, 1955. Jim potted the red and lined himself up for the pink. Nail that, and he had won. He took his time, stretched his legs, bent low and checked the angle. Chas and Mike looked on with amused expressions on their faces. Mike rammed the question home. “Has she though? Seen anything recently?”
Jim lined his cue up. “Jenny seen any more UFOs?” Chas asked, as Jim brought his cue forward. It was a customary tactic that Chas and Mike used when they were in danger of losing. They knew it put Jim on edge, put him off his shot, somehow affected the coordination between Jim’s hand and his brain.
“You could say that,” Jim replied. “How d’you mean?” Chas asked, with a sly grin at Mike. Jim squared up to the other two. “She’s been abducted,” he said. “What! By aliens?” Chas queried, left hand tugging at his beard.
“Bollocks!” Jim exclaimed as the pink hit the edge of the pocket and rebounded back into play. He glared at Chas. “You did that on purpose.”
“More likely by him at number three,” Mike remarked. They all knew about him at number three, and had him down as a cheapskate womaniser who couldn’t be bothered finding his own wife.
They were the three amigos, or as their other friends often named them, the three stooges. Jim was long and lean with a hooked nose. Chas was short and slightly overweight with a beard that made him look ten years older than he really was. Mike was somewhere between the two, and sported a trim moustache beneath his rather bulbous nose.
The comment hit a nerve, and Jim brandished his cue like a weapon. “Take that back, you moronic weasel!” he yelled. He was turning red in the face. Mike held up both his hands in mock surrender. “Just kidding.”
“All’s fair in love and war,” Chas quipped, as he nonchalantly potted the pink and black. “That’s a tenner you owe me,” he said to Jim. He blew on the end of his cue and placed it back in the rack.
“What’s happened?” Chas asked, trying to diffuse the situation. Jim put his cue on the table and glowered at Mike. “I need a drink.” He gestured at Chas. “You’re paying.”
Jim and Jenny were UFO freaks, and Chas and Mike knew it.
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outside.” He looked earnestly at the other two. “The light had gone and so had Jenny. It was pitch black.” “Abducted by aliens,” Mike said. “Definitely,” Jim said. “She kept going on about how cool it would be. Totally believed it would be life-changing.” “I guess it would be,” Mike remarked.
“How could I refuse,” Chas rejoined.
“I hope you don’t mind me saying so,” Chas commented, “but you seem to be taking it remarkably well.”
They walked through into the bar, grabbed three beers, the type that lasted all night, and retired to a corner table where nobody could overhear them.
Jim shrugged. “They always get returned, don’t they? She’ll be back in a week or so. No doubt fully chuffed at being chosen.” He looked at his watch. “Better get home. Need to walk the dog.”
“So,” Mike said, keeping his face as straight as possible, “Jenny’s been abducted by aliens.”
“Correct,” Jim replied matter-of-factly.
After he’d gone, Chas and Mike looked at each other. It was a competition to see who would break out in laughter first.
“What makes you think that?” Chas asked, as he took a sip of his beer.
“Bloody hell!” Chas pronounced. “Is he deluded or what. How can he be so stupid?”
Jim sampled his own beer and said, “Keep quiet and I’ll tell you.”
Mike nodded. “Aliens, my ass,” he announced. “It’ll be him at number three. He’s always fawning after Jenny.” He’d made sure his own wife, Jean, had never come in contact with the man, and had told her to stay clear of him in no uncertain terms.
All three of them settled in their chairs and craned their heads forward to form a male coven equal to anything that the bard’s Macbeth could ever conjure.
“Him at number three,” Chas mused, knowingly. He’d actually had occasion to warn him off his own wife on one occasion. “We should help him—Jim, I mean. Put it to rights.” He glanced at his watch. It was only twenty past nine.
“It was two nights ago,” Jim began. “Something woke me up, Jenny leaving the room probably. I remember looking at the bedside clock. It was half past one. There was a light shining against the blinds, quite strong. I looked for Jenny, but she wasn’t there.” Jim looked at Mike and Chas in turn, as if checking whether they believed him or not.
“Let’s give it twenty minutes,” Mike said. “Finish the beers. She won’t be going anywhere.”
“I went to the window and raised the blinds. Jenny was in the back garden bathed in this strong light. The bedroom window doesn’t open, so I ran full tilt downstairs and went
Him at number three was a middle-age man called Sam Cunningham. He was what Chas and Mike called smooth. He drove a posh car and never went into the pub. He was also silverhaired and silver-tongued. - 29 -
Chas put a finger to his lips. “Shhh.”
There were no lights showing at number three. “Doesn’t mean they’re not in,” Chas said meaningfully. “Let’s go round the back,” Mike suggested. Across the road at number eight, Jim watched them with a gleam in his eye. They were so predictable: took the hook and bit deep, to use a fishing parlance. He counted to ten, went out the front and scuttled to the phone box at the end of the road. Within two minutes he was back home again. At number three, Chas and Mike found the back door ajar. “Strange,” Mike said. “What happened here?” “Aliens?” Chas responded, a huge grin straddling his face. Mike ignored him and pushed on the door. It swung open to reveal a small kitchen, dishes lined up on the drainer, a half-open cupboard. Chas and Mike knew the layout. All the houses in the street were the same. “Do we go in?” Chas asked uncertainly. “Why not,” Mike replied. “The door’s open.”
The same thought passed through their minds. If they found Cunningham and Jenny together that would be unbelievably great: a huge one-up for the three amigos, and ten down for the posh drip Cunningham. Mike led the way up the stairs. It was dark, but there was enough moonlight filtering through the upper landing window to see the bedroom doors.
Mike chose the second, front bedroom, always the biggest in these mass-produced homes. He quietly opened the door, and put his hand inside to feel for the light switch. The light went on and they charged inside, like two children at a party. “Surprise!” they yelled together. It was a surprise alright. Cunningham lay propped up on the bed, an open book held in one hand, and half a snooker cue sticking out of his chest. “Shit!” Mike exclaimed, gripping Chas’s shoulder. “Is he dead?” They were both frozen: frozen to each other and frozen to the bedroom floor.
Chas’s face was deathly white. “He’s dead alright. And that’s the bloody snooker cue I used tonight.” They stared at each other, uncertain what to do. Run? Call the police? They didn’t have to. “Police!” came a stentorian yell from downstairs. “Stay where you are! Don’t move!” There came the thud of boots on stairs. Chas saw the title of Cunningham’s book: They Came from Outer Space.
*** “They say you told them some cock and bull story about aliens abducting your wife.”
“Ridiculous,” Jim said, regarding Detective Sergeant Sanders with feigned incredulity. “She’s away for a few days at her mother’s. Check, if you like. Her mum’s well-off enough to have a phone. The number’s on the hall stand and there’s a public phone box three doors down.” - 30 -
The DS nodded to his sidekick, a young constable by the name of Hicks, who promptly left the room to undertake the aforementioned check. “They say,” the DS continued, “that you’re a UFO nut.” “Interested, that’s all,” Jim replied. “Don’t you think it’s interesting?” The DS grunted. “How well did you know Sam Cunningham?” “I didn’t know him at all,” Jim said. “Just a nod in passing if he was in his front garden. He kept himself to himself.” “That’s not what they say,” the policeman pushed home his point, looking Jim straight in the eyes. “They say he fancied your wife something rotten.”
Be in touch all you want, Jim thought, as he shut the door. You won’t connect me to anything.
“Nonsense,” Jim said. “He’s never spoken to Jenny. Ask her, if you like.”
He returned to the lounge. Jenny would be home tomorrow and he’d have to give her all the details. He didn’t suppose the constable told her much. She’d be upset, naturally, but she would keep it bottled up inside.
Jenny will deny knowing him, of course, Jim thought. She always has done. Even when he’d threatened to cut her ears off.
Taking the cue had been easy. Straight out of the pub with it, he’d snapped it into two, an act that had given him a lovely sharp end—all the easier to push into Cunningham’s chest.
A few pointless questions later, the constable poked his head around the door. “She’s there, alright, sir,” he said. “At her mother’s.”
“We’ll talk to your wife,” the DS said. “But for now, that’s it. We’ll be in touch.”
All with gloves, of course: no fingerprints. And there would be none in the phone box.
“This makes me really sad,” Jim said to the police as they left.
Jim sighed. He supposed it was the end of the three amigos.
Clayton Graham, growing up in the cobbled streets of Stockport, UK, read a lot of Science Fiction. He loved the 'old school' masters such as HG Wells, Jules Verne, Isaac Asimov, and John Wyndham. As he left those formative years behind, he penned short stories when he could find a rare quiet moment amidst life's usual distractions. Combining future science with the paranormal is his passion. Discover more about Clayton on Mom's Favorite Reads website: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/clayton-graham/ - 31 -
Contributions by Hannah Howe Some of my ancestors were famous. For example, my great-grandmother invented the door knocker. She won the no bell prize.
I’ve thought long and hard about this one and reached the conclusion that Velcro is a rip-off. I failed the final paper of my electrician’s exam. My clients will get a shock when they find out.
I slept like a log last night, and woke up in the fireplace.
Looking to vary the family menu, we decided to eat a clock. It was very time-consuming. And there were no seconds.
A councillor came to our house yesterday. He asked for donations towards the new community swimming pool. I gave him a glass of water.
My friend Ann said to me the other day, “If my boss comes anywhere near me again, I’ll fold him.” “Oh,” I said, “I didn’t know you were a martial arts expert.” “I am,” she said. “I have a black belt in origami.”
I’m thinking of getting rid of our vacuum cleaner. All it does is gather dust. - 32 -
Things to Celebrate in August by Poppy Flynn Every day of month has some kind of official celebration and usually more than one! It might be big, it might be small…it might be wacky or downright bizarre! There are over 1500 National Days throughout the year, here’s just one observance of the many for each day in August 2020.
August 7th - International Beer Day: Always celebrated on the first Friday in August, International Beer Day has grown from a small localised event in the western United States into a worldwide celebration spanning 207 cities, 80 countries and 6 continents. August 8th - Sneak some Zucchini onto your Neighbours Porch Day: This is a day for budding gardeners to get rid of their extra produce. If you receive a Zucchini – that’s Courgette to some of us – treat it as a gift!
August 1st - International Mahjong Day: Dust off your tiles, teach someone else, or learn how to play this ancient Chinese game of symbols. August 2nd - National Colouring Book Day: Recognising the fun that both children and adults alike get from colouring pictures.
August 9th - National Book Lovers Day: Does this really need any explanation? Embrace your love of reading and maybe discover a new author today.
August 3rd - Watermelon Day: Guess what’s today’s treat should be.
August 10th - National S’mores Day: In recognition of the most popular campfire treat dig out the marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers and enjoy a treat so delicious that it got its name from everyone asking for ‘S’more’.
August 4th - Chocolate Chip Cookie Day: Celebrate with the recipe at the end of this article. August 5th - National Underwear Day: Although only officially celebrated since 2003, it’s likely your mother, and her mother before her probably always warned to wear clean underwear in case you had an accident.
August 11th – Presidential Joke Day: Celebrated since 1984, This day recognises the humour found in the blunders, missteps and mistakes of those in the highest office of the land. While in the moment, the Commander in Chief might not find them so funny, looking back, they’re often absolutely hilarious.
August 6th - Wiggle Your Toes Day: Take off your shoes and give your toes a vacation. A barefoot walk in the grass, or through some sand, maybe dip them in a pool. Appreciate your feet. - 33 -
August 18th - Fajita Day: Embrace the deliciousness of Tex-Mex and enjoy Fajita’s today. August 19th - World Humanitarian Day: Introduced initially to recognise the work of the United Nations, this day celebrates our unsung heroes; those who work on the front lines and risk their lives to provide humanitarian services at the many disasters and crisis around the world . August 20th - National Radio Day: Recognising the invention of the radio and how music and information was brought into our lives remotely.
August 12 - Vinyl Record Day: Those big, black, vintage discs are enjoying a bit of a comeback, so dust off your record player and celebrate the first portable recordings. th
August 13 - International Left Handers Day: Founded in 1992, this is the day that celebrates the 10% of the population lovingly referred to as ‘southpaws’. th
August 14th - World Lizard Day: Show a lizard some love. August 15th - World Honey Bee Day: Celebrated annually on the third Saturday in August, this day celebrates the environmental importance of the honey bee as well as the beekeepers who tend them.
August 16th - National Tell a Joke Day: Last month it was old jokes, in August the more modern joke gets its day. August 17th - Black Cat Appreciation Day: Not to be confused with National Black Cat Day in October, this is a day aimed at dispelling (there could almost be a pun there!) the myths and superstitions surrounding black cats.
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August 21st - Senior Citizens Day: According to the 2017 census, 47 million seniors live in the United States alone and that number is expected to double by 2060. These are the people whose knowledge and skill pioneered the advances of science, medicine and technology. Today is a day to celebrate their great worth. August 22nd - National Tooth Fairy Day: In 1927, Esther Watkins Arnold brought the tooth fairy to life in an eight-page playlet called The Tooth Fairy. At the same time, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle published pictures of two girls surrounded by the ‘photographic evidence’ of fairies which was ground-breaking at the time. Since then, the Tooth Fairy has become an institution.
August 30th - National Beach Day: The focus of many of our summer vacations, weekend breaks or days out. Celebrate the humble beach and all the joy it brings.
August 23rd - National Ride the Wind Day: The observance commemorates the anniversary of the first human-powered flight on August 23rd 1977, when the Gossamer Condor 2 flew a distance of 2,172 meters at Minter Field in Shafter, California. August 24th - National Waffle Day: Commemorating the anniversary of the first waffle iron patent issued to Cornelius Swarthout in 1869. August 25th - Kiss and Make Up Day: Does what it says on the tin. Choose today to settle any differences that might have sprung up between family, friends and loved ones. August 26th - National Dog Day: There are a few of these, August 26th is yet another day to celebrate Manâ€™s Best Friend.
August 31st - National Matchmaker Day: It might be a person, it might be a dating site, it might be cupid himself. Today is a day to celebrate all those things that bring people together and spark romance in the air. Finally, some of the month-long observance in August include Family Fun Month, Happiness Happens Month, National Crayon Collection Month and Romance Awareness month.
August 27th - Just Because Day: Offering the opportunity to do stuffâ€Śjust because. Today you can celebrate any way you please. Just because! August 28th - National Bow Tie Day: Learn to tie a bow tie. Find your style. Wear it fearlessly! Use #NationalBowTieDay to share on social media. August 29th - Chop Suey Day: Have your chopsticks at the ready to celebrate Chinese cuisine.
Poppy Flynn was born in Buckinghamshire, UK and moved to Wales at eight years old with parents who wanted to live the 'self-sufficiency' lifestyle. Today she still lives in rural Wales and is married with six children. Poppy's love of reading and writing stemmed from her parents' encouragement and the fact that they didn't have a television in the house. "When you're surrounded by fields, cows and sheep, no neighbors, no TV and the closest tiny village is four miles away, there's a certain limit to your options, but with books your adventures and your horizons are endless." Discover more about Poppy on Mom's Favorite Reads website:
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Basic Chocolate Chip Cookies by Poppy Flynn August 4th is Chocolate Chip Cookie Day – Celebrate by making your own fresh cookies with this quick and simple recipe. Prep:10 minutes ~ Cooking time:15 minutes ~ Makes approx. 20 cookies ~ Preheat the oven to 170°C (gas mark 4)
Ingredients 100g butter or margarine (best at room temperature)
Cook for 12-15 minutes until golden then leave to cool them on a wire rack.
Hints and tips:
150g self-raising flour
While the Vanilla Essence is optional, it does improve the flavour of the cookies, but if you don’t have any, it’s not the end of the world.
If you prefer Double Chocolate Chip Cookies, swap out 50g of the flour and replace with cocoa powder.
For a richer cookie use brown or demerara sugar.
For a more country style cookie use chopped chocolate from a chilled bar.
Experiment with White and Dark chocolate in your cookies.
Add a handful of nuts for a tasty twist.
100g chocolate chips 1tsp vanilla essence (optional)
Method Beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the Vanilla essence. Stir in the flour and chocolate chips. Knead with hands to make a smooth dough. Divide into approximately 20 even-sized balls and arrange on a greased baking sheet with enough room for them to spread and press them down slightly.
Poppy Flynn was born in Buckinghamshire, UK and moved to Wales at eight years old with parents who wanted to live the 'self-sufficiency' lifestyle. Today she still lives in rural Wales and is married with six children. Poppy's love of reading and writing stemmed from her parents' encouragement and the fact that they didn't have a television in the house. "When you're surrounded by fields, cows and sheep, no neighbors, no TV and the closest tiny village is four miles away, there's a certain limit to your options, but with books your adventures and your horizons are endless." Discover more about Poppy on Mom's Favorite Reads website:
https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/poppy-flynn - 36 -
Word Search By Momâ€™s Favorite Reads
You can find the answers for this activity on the Momâ€™s Favorite Reads website here: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/magazines/activities/ - 37 -
Beyond Closed Doors by Sue DeCrescenzo Part I - Before What do you mean, you’ve had enough, Jill’s father, Frank, screamed? Her Mother, Mary Beth, cringed as he walked into the kitchen. Frank shouted, I work ten hours a day, expect dinner on the table and a clean house. Why can’t you do that? Mary Beth hadn’t been feeling good. The cancer was getting worse. Jill and her brother, Jimmie, tried to help, but Mary Beth refused. She let them play; then fed them dinner.
And Jill couldn’t stand to listen to her Mother plead for her life. Jill told her brother, stay in the closet, hide under the blanket and don’t let anyone in until I come back. Jill hugged Jimmie; then she slipped onto the top of the stairs.
Tonight, Frank sounded meaner and drunker. Mary Beth heard from one of the neighbors there maybe layoffs. She signaled Jill to take her brother upstairs and hide in the closet.
Frank, said to Mary Beth, “Oh, you’re useless. I think, I’m going to have me some fun tonight. I’ve seen the way our daughter is growing up.”
For Jill, this scene played out every Friday night for most of her life–13 long years. At first her parents seemed happy. Frank lost his job; found another, but the pay and the work never satisfied him. Frank stopped at the local bar on Fridays. He drank to feel better. When he got home, he beat Mary Beth to make himself feel in control. Today Frank was worse than usual.
Jill heard their Mother shout, if you touch Jill, I’ll kill you. Mary Beth pulled a pistol from her apron pocket. She vowed enough was enough. Frank said, Christ, where did you get that gun? Jill crawled downstairs and into the kitchen. Her mother cowered in the corner, bruised and bleeding, but in her hand, she held a gun. Frank laughed; then slapped the pistol out of Mary Beth’s hand. Jill knew that if she didn’t get the gun, her Mother would be next. Her Dad blocked the gun laying on the floor.
Jill tried to make a game out of hiding in the closet. Jimmie, six years younger, didn’t know any different. They had a flashlight, books to read, snacks and a blanket. In between the shouting and the crying coming from downstairs, they finished their homework. Afterwards, Jill would hold Jimmie until he fell asleep.
Jill shouted, Dad, leave her alone! Frank looked up and laughed. Well look who it is, Daddy’s little girl. Frank did a suggestive “dance”.
Mary Beth could fight Frank off until she got him to eat or he passed out or both. The next day, Mary Beth would tell the neighbors that she fell; her way of explaining the bruises. Tonight, Frank was unrelenting. Mary Beth begged him to stop. She couldn’t muffle her screams.
Jill could see the new fear in her Mother’s eyes. Mary Beth lunged for the stove and with all the strength she had left, she tossed a hot pot of soup at Frank. The hot liquid splashed on Frank, and fueled a new rage. Frank punched Mary Beth again. - 38 -
Part II – After
Mary Beth had given her the perfect opportunity to snatch the gun. In between Frank’s blows, her Mother said, Now! Jill grabbed the gun and pointed it at her father. Frank lunged at Jill. There was a brief struggle. The gun fired. Jill was close enough that it hit her father in his chest. He was dead before he hit the floor. The smell of sweat, stale beer and death was strong, but for the first time all night, it was quiet.
Jill instructed the designer I want nothing but the best. And Jill could afford it. She had the clothes, the cars, and the trips to exotic lands. Everything she touched turned to “gold”. That’s what they called her, The Golden Girl. She was blonde, blued eyed and rich. No one said she didn’t work hard to get where she was. In fact, that’s the excuse she gave, too busy to find love. One day, at work, the CEO called an emergency executive staff meeting. The CEO informed Jill and her executive team the Finance Manager resigned, and a new Finance Manager starts in a month.
Jill ran to her Mom. Her Mother said give me the gun; then go upstairs, take your bloody clothes off, wrap them up in tight ball and hide them under your bed. Take a shower and make sure you clean up the tub too. When you’re done, get into your pajamas and stay with Jimmie in the closet until the police come. Do you understand? Jill nodded. Her Mother said, remember I love you both. Bruises you can hide but stop before the bones break. Now, pull the phone over here, go upstairs and do not come down, until the police arrive!
Evan, was spectacular in every way, looks, brains and he got what wanted. He wanted Jill. At first, she avoided him. He tried expensive gifts, flowers, jewelry, but won her over with two tickets to her favorite hockey teams championship game. They dined on vendor hot dogs, washed down with stadium beer and Jill fell in love. The engagement was short. The wedding a formal affair with three hundred guests. Jill and Evan, the perfect couple, envied by all.
Jill ran upstairs, showered, changed, hid her bloody clothes and waited. She heard her Mom call 911; then she heard the gun go off again. Silence.
No one guessed that behind closed doors, Jill’s past was coming back to haunt her. There were signs, but she ignored them. After a few months of marital bless; Evan’s occasional night cap, turned into a nightly affair.
Next, Jill heard the police enter the house. The police discovered the bodies in the kitchen and one officer said, the woman on the 911 call told us, look for the kids upstairs.
They were both busy with a merger and she traveled often. When she returned, Evan acted happy to see her. After a day or so, he grew silent and drank. When he drank too much, he would hit her, but he was always careful to hide the bruises. In the morning, he apologized and promised I won’t do it again. She denied anything was wrong.
The police finished their investigation and the courts determined it was a murder-suicide. Case closed. For years afterwards, everyone said, that SOB had it coming. Sad the kids lost their Mother too, but the cancer would have killed her anyway.
Jimmie and Jill moved out of state and in with their maternal grandparents. Jill graduated from high school and left for college. She graduated with honors in both her undergraduate and graduate degrees. She never came back for her grandparents’ funerals or her brother’s wedding. - 39 -
Part III - Two Years Later
After Evan drank, he would stumble back to bed and pass out. Tonight, he didn’t. Jill woke around 2 am. He wasn’t in bed, so she went to find him. As she came around the corner, something hard hit her from behind. When she came too, she could feel blood on the back of her neck. Evan was standing over her, holding a gun!
The grand opening was spectacular. The press was there. Evan Jill’s brother, Jimmie came with his family. Everyone stood and applauded as the banner dropped revealing the new sign, Mary Beth Women’s Shelter. Jill appeared at the podium. Jill stated, all the money my husband, my abuser, left me allowed us to build this shelter. My hope for all of us, we work together to stop the cycle of abuse.
He started ranting, why are you having an affair? Jill thought, what affair, but she knew better than to argue with a drunk. And where did he get the gun? As if he could read her thoughts, he said, Like my new toy? While you’ve been having fun with your boyfriend, I’ve been going to the shooting range. I’m a good shot, you know.
NOTE: This story came to me after I read a newspaper article on the cycle of abuse. I am very fortunate I am not a victim of abuse. However, I pray for the victims and for their strength to break the cycle.
Jill, thought to herself, this can’t be happening. Evan pulled her up and started to beat her. She almost passed out, but her Mother’s words came back to her, stop him before he breaks any bones. She grabbed his fist. Evan was surprised she fought back, but he was too drunk. The distraction was enough. She seized the gun, they struggled, and it fired. The smell of sweat, stale beer and death was strong, but for the first time all night, it was quiet. A neighbor heard the shot and called 911. The coroner carried the body to the morgue. The detectives’ investigation and the courts determined it was self-defense.
Susan has a varied background in customer service, account management, technical writing, course development, and training. Her specialties are Team leadership, training, technical writing, and public relations. Connect with Susan via LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/susan-j-decrescenzo-527148/
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Johnny Morris by John Greeves
The man who bought Animal Magic to millions
Johnny Morris, man of many voices, reporter and entertainer, will be best remembered as the star of Animal Magic which ran for twenty-one years in over 400 editions. Several generations of children were captivated with his rapport and with the showâ€™s animal stars including Dottie the ring-tailed lemur. Ernest John Morris was born 20 June 1916 in Newport South Wales. The son of a postman, Johnny Morris attended Hatherleigh Road School where his first love was music. He learnt to play the violin and together with his father who was a gifted cellist toured South Wales as a child, playing to captivated audiences. When the time came to leave school at fourteen, Johnny Morris planned to make a living on the stage. He joined the local repertory company to gain experience but the 1920s were difficult times and he moved to London when he was seventeen. A succession of jobs followed as a solicitorâ€™s clerk, time keeper on a building site, salesman until he moved away to Wiltshire where he managed a 2,000 acre farm in Aldbourne in Wiltshire owned by the art collector Jimmy Bomford. Here Johnny allowed his interest in animals to develop even further. In 1942 he married fashion model Eileen Monro who was ten years older than him. She had separated from her former husband and relocated to Wiltshire with her two young sons Stuart and Nick. Johnny continued to work as a farm manager looking after 2,000 pigs and 600 cows for ÂŁ2.50 a week. His break into radio and subsequently television came four years later when
he was discovered telling stories in his local pub by the BBC Home Service West Regional producer Desmond Hawkins another local resident of the village. Morris featured in a number of Regional series throughout the 1950s. At the beginning he gave country life talks in the Plug in the Wall series and featured in a rural-based magazine programme called Johnny Comes to Town. He was often employed on light entertainment programmes as a storyteller or a participant in such programmes as Pass the Salt a weekly broadcast where he tried his hand at a new job like brick laying, litter picking, or collecting fares on a ferry boat. A natural mimic and impersonator, Johnny first appeared on television as The Hot Chestnut Man, where he sat roasting chestnuts and telling a humorous yarn, often with a moral in a West Country accent. In 1960 he began a new series called Tales of The Riverbank a Canadian production which had been imported into Britain. The stories featured Hammy the Hamster, Roderick the Rat, GP the Guinea Pig and assorted friends along the river bank. - 41 -
Johnny’s appealing manner made him and his creature companions stars with the viewers including Wendy the elephant, Congo the chimpanzee and Dotty the ring-tailed lemur and many others.
He also narrated 1 to 11 of The Railway Stories written by the Rev. W. Awdry, the first eight of which were released in the LP format in 1970s and told tales about Thomas the Tank and other engines. Later he carried this passion for steam railways forward by becoming the Vice President of the Bluebell Railway in Sussex in the 1960s. He attended many anniversaries and landmark events over the first few decades of the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society which came into being between 1959 and 1960. He made two promotional LPs for the railway and is still remembered fondly by the society today.
There were many hilarious occasions such as the day he washed the elephants only to find the hose pipe grabbed by a curling trunk that then proceeded to soak Johnny and those around him. ‘Life is much more is much more interesting’ he said ‘if it is peppered with people and animals that have got something ‘up’ with them. His love of animals never ceased. Animal Magic ran for twenty years and provided several generations with a keener understanding of their needs and personalities. It was finally abandoned in 1983 when its anthropomorphic approach (ascribing human characteristics to animals) was considered out of date.
Johnny was an inveterate traveller and his journeys took him all round Britain and to the far reaches of the world. His travel programmes included amongst the many he took part in:
Ticket to Turkey (1960), John Morris in Mexico (1968), Johnny Morris North from Lion City (1969) and Oh to be in England (1976).
Johnny had many facets to his life. In 1982 he was awarded an OBE. In his eighties he also fostered wider concerns and demonstrated as an active environmentalist against the building of the Newbury Bypass. Johnny continued to work all his life and last appeared in a Channel 4 film on television at Christmas 1998 in a silent role playing the zookeeper called The Magic Keeper. When details of a new series for ITV were announced in March of that year he denied he was making a comeback. ‘I don’t know what it means to retire,’ he said. But times were changing and Johnny was weary of the new style of television and broadcasting. The gentleness of Morris's conversations with animals and their replies belonged to a charming, but rapidly vanishing era of television.
Perhaps Animal Magic is the programme children and adults most remember. This was the brain child of Pat Beech, a former news editor of the BBC in Bristol and entered a golden era of TV when viewing was a shared by both children and adults alike. Animal Magic was an instant hit that combined action-packed animal spectacular with Johnny’s captivating voices and storytelling. Johnny adopted the role of Zoo Keeper and much of the filming was done at Bristol zoo and later at other zoos around the country. He blended entertainment with education as he chattered with monkeys, fed the sea lions, filed the elephant’s toenails, adding voices all the time to mimic their reactions. - 42 -
As Desmond Hawkins the man who first discovered him put it, ‘Johnny was truly an original, a one-off. ‘He became a star in the world of entertainment and yet he never quite belonged to that world.’ His health was declining. Diabetes continued to dog him. He collapsed at his home in Hungerford, Berkshire and sadly died on the 6th May 1999 after a drawn-out illness. He will always be remembered for his common humanity and warmth which endeared him to all those around him. It seems fitting that even in death; the story-telling zookeeper (as we all knew him from our childhood), should be buried with his zookeeper’s hat and with a host of enduring memories.
http://www.bluebell-railway.co.uk/ Acknowledgement: Images courtesy of the Bluebell Railway.
John Greeves is a creative writing tutor. He originally hails from
Lincolnshire. He gained a Masters degree at Cardiff University and previously worked at Sussex University. When he’s not teaching for Continuing and Professional Education, he writes poetry, short stories and features, and runs the occasional workshop.
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Peaceful Escape by Hannah Howe
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The Stream by Stan Phillips
Aimlessly I strolled along the bank of a stream. Watched the water as it flowed fast, enthusiastic, to places I would never see. Walked slowly so as not to disturb the small eco system that had lived and thrived undisturbed for years, centuries even, for who would go boldly into that wild and green growing wilderness that flourished there? The water to one side, singing and dancing as it went silver on its way, also contained a life I would never know. And the hidden, quiet woodland, to the other possessed it's own mysteries. I sat in between and smoked my cigarette and wondered. Three universes we were. The stream. The wilderness. And me. Coexisting. But never understanding. Or maybe the stream and the wood did? It was just me that didn't know why. Stan Phillips (C)2020
Stan Phillips is an 80 year old poet, musical podcast maker, part-time wannabe male model, and occasional stand up comedian. “I used to be a psychotherapist/counsellor when I had an honest job. I was born into prewar London, and attended 17 schools (my father believed they couldn’t hit a moving target) and I eventually finished up here in Ireland. Still wondering what I will be when I grow up — but enjoying writing my quirky poetry as I do so.” Discover more about Stan on Mom’s Favorite Reads website: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/stan-phillips - 46 -
Mom’s Favorite Reads Author New Release by Anthony Randall
Tales of Tucson by Anthony Randall
Imagine this: You’ve been let out of your cage, given the keys to an exciting city and free rein in a land far from home. You’re twenty seven, not bad looking, in a band playing gigs all over town; the climate is roasting, the girls even hotter. You work for a gangster, his middle aged Wife is after you and so is her multimillion dollar heiress friend. You’re paid in cash, you don’t pay taxes; you don’t pay for much at all. You drink, you party, you indulge yourself in a lackadaisical drug fuelled love spree … You’d have some tales to tell, right? It’s 1988; Tom Reynolds and Seamus Montgomery experience a turbulent extravaganza in and around this desert town; embroiled with mobsters, drugs, Reggae music, Champagne and armfuls of young ladies. They flout the law, get shot at, steal, blow things up and charm the pants off the locals. We see the depths of their depravity, the enormity of their fun and their souls bared. The girls, the Mother figures, their tyrannical boss, their bandmates, and the total lunatics they encounter along the way; in a hot and spicy, satirical, melodrama crammed with hilarity and pathos that will beg the question why did you never do this yourself?
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Everyone Needs A Laugh by Keith Guernsey my friend Joey Tribbani!) I quickly pulled them up but the damage was done! Susan said it truly was hysterical-yours truly not so much. Fortunately there wasn't enough time for anyone to pull out their phone and film this faux pas. When I went back, the nurse said my BP was extremely high and she asked if there was a reason for that. I explained what had happened and she did here very best not to laugh. But I'm certain that at the next coffee or lunch break she told this story to all her fellow doctors and nurses and they had a good chuckle. After slinking embarrassingly out of the office, I went back to the hotel where we were staying to find my belt.
Walking into the BMT (Bone Marrow Transplant) office was like walking into a tomb of gloom. The room was full of my fellow cancer patients. Everyone had a dour expression on their face, behind the masks we were required to wear. We all sat around waiting to be called for our blood work and you could just about hear a pin drop.
Suffice to say, I have worn it every day since!
It was a privilege to provide some comic relief, albeit unintentionally. You see I had lost another 30 pounds and my clothes were getting very baggy. I heard my name called and jumped right up. As I went up my shorts went down and everyone doubled over with laughter (I'm just glad I didn't go commando that day like
Keith D. Guernsey is retired and living on Lake Lanier with his lovely wife Susan and his four-footed son Harley (who really is the king of this castle!) firstname.lastname@example.org witter=@thegurns https://www.amazon.com/Mr-Keith-D-Guernsey/e/B00PR51Q7Y
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Endless Summer by Stan Phillips
Do you recall those endless summers of long ago? Days of unbroken blue skies and sunshine following each other in a parade of golden glory. Country roads stretching out. Yellow sands washed by gentle tides. Long school holidays that felt like a benediction. And nothing to do but mooch around watching the meadows buzz with life as wild flowers grew in bright abundance.
Did we think then of the memories we were making as we lived those blissful sunstruck days? Probably not, as we lived them, and consigned them to history. Somehow though, it feels like that again as balmy day follows balmy day. And I, old now, am mooching around once more, recalling those endless summers of long ago, whilst living one that this day's young will recall when I have long gone from the scene. Stan Phillips 2020 ©
Stan Phillips is an 80 year old poet, musical podcast maker, part-time wannabe male model, and occasional stand up comedian. “I used to be a psychotherapist/counsellor when I had an honest job. I was born into prewar London, and attended 17 schools (my father believed they couldn’t hit a moving target) and I eventually finished up here in Ireland. Still wondering what I will be when I grow up — but enjoying writing my quirky poetry as I do so.” Discover more about Stan on Mom’s Favorite Reads website: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/stan-phillips - 49 -
The Old Bank Bistro: Exploring a Haunted Restaurant by Val Tobin
Fort Erie, Ontario Restaurants are great places to hunt for ghosts. When I was taking a course in mediumship in 2010, our teacher, Doreen Virtue, explained to us that some spirits like to hang out in places where people are indulging in the things that the spirits used to enjoy. Eating and drinking are common pleasures, so restaurants and pubs are frequently haunted. The Old Bank Bistro in Fort Erie, Ontario, is one such establishment.
found an active site with a fascinating history and probably more than one ghost. A tenant living above the restaurant reports activity in his unit. Restaurant patrons tell stories of encounters with Richard, the resident ghost, Koutroulakis describes the otherworldly tenant as friendly.
History of the Old Bank Bistro
The town of Fort Erie sits in one of the most haunted regions in Ontario. Old Fort Erie was the site of one of the bloodiest battles during the War of 1812, and Bridgeburg, where the Old Bank Bistro is located, is the oldest part of Fort Erie. The entire Niagara region has a haunted past, and it’s difficult to go anywhere in Fort Erie without rubbing shoulders with the ghosts of days gone by.
Certain parts of the restaurant have cold spots or can give you the feeling that someone you can’t see is nearby. The women’s washroom was one of the places where a couple of investigators (myself included) felt there was something to investigate. One of the women taking readings with an EMF meter said it was showing evidence of activity, though there was no proof that it was related to spirit activity.
The Old Bank Bistro, located at 41 Jarvis St., takes its name from its origin as an actual bank. Built as the Stirling Bank in 1924 by Richard Baxter, who died in 1926, the bank was sold by Baxter to the Bank of Montreal. Present owner, Peter Koutroulakis, bought and renovated the building, opening the Bistro in 2004. Koutroulakis has found that, while the original owner may have sold the bank, he never left it.
Mischievous Ghost or Angry Tenant?
When I visited the Old Bank Bistro for an investigation on April 23, 2011, with the Paranormal Investigation Society of Toronto (PIST), we
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the menu did not list any vegan dishes. But the waitress assured me that this would not be a problem. They were able to create a delicious vegan pasta dish for me that I enjoyed thoroughly.
The Old Bank Bistro Investigation Meetup page describes incidents attributed to the Bistro ghost that would be considered attentiongetting but mostly harmless: “Richard has been known to open large heavy doors, turn on the stoves, slam cupboard doors, and even move the Christmas tree across the attached apartment floor. He is often seen waiting in the lounge area, observing the patrons before vanishing from view” (Accessed January 25, 2013). The one activity that could be considered dangerous is turning on stoves. But, so far, no harm has come from any of the activity there.
While I didn’t get to meet Richard Baxter that night, I did get the sense that there was spirit activity there. The restaurant’s décor consists primarily of pieces from the early 1900s, and with the lights off for the investigation, it made me feel as though I might have stepped back in time and not as though Richard Baxter has stepped forward. If you’re ever in the area, stop by The Old Bank Bistro and have a meal. Perhaps Richard Baxter will join you.
Go for the Ghost; Stay for the Food
One of the advantages of investigating a restaurant or pub is that at some point, you can eat. We had dinner at The Old Bank Bistro and it was worth driving to Fort Erie just for the food alone. They serve steak, seafood, and Italian dishes, all of which look and smell wonderful. The only problem for me was that when I’m doing an investigation, I prefer to eat vegan, and
Images from the Old Bank Bistro in Fort Erie, Ontario, Courtesy of Bob Tobin
Val Tobin writes speculative fiction and searches the world over for the perfect butter tart. Her home is in Newmarket, Ontario, where she enjoys writing, reading, and talking about writing and reading. Discover more about Val on Mom’s Favorite Reads website: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/val-tobin - 51 -
What If by Sue DeCrescenzo It was Monday morning. On the way out the door, CeCe grabbed her purse and phone, hugged her cat; then pressed the garage door opener. She smiled - her first brand-new car.
When she turned onto the main road, her GPS beeped announcing an accident on her favorite route. She hated taking the interstate, but she was already late. She made a left and headed for the entrance ramp.
∞ CeCe said, where am I and what happened? Her head was killing her, her left arm was in a sling, her tongue felt swollen and tasted like cotton. And she swears she could feel a cat climbing on her stomach. A cat, I must be home? A voice said, Hello, my name is Nurse Jean, and this is Allie my cat. She likes to visit my patients at the hospital.
The sun was just coming up. She opened her window. The air smelled crisp and cool with a promise of a beautiful Fall day. Next week is Thanksgiving and Christmas will be here before we know it. CeCe entered the interstate; traffic moved quickly. She hit the gas and merged into the right lane. She cruised along when - oh @#$%, the car in front of her stopped; then it sounded like a bomb went off and CeCe blacked out.
At the hospital, CeCe exclaimed. I’m in a hospital, what happened? Nurse Jean said, you were in a multiple car pileup on the interstate. Several folks didn’t make it. You’re one of the lucky ones. Allie and I have been coming for several weeks now. We’re glad to see you open your eyes.
∞ This is Kylie Watts, Channel 56 TV, reporting live on the multiple car pile-up on Interstate 80. As you can see, Life Flight just landed, and ambulances are transporting victims to area hospitals as quickly as possible.
I have been here several weeks? Yes, you were in a coma. Your left arm has a pin and plate in it and might need additional surgery. We’re not sure about your legs yet, but let’s not worry about that now. Nurse Jean pulled back the covers and massaged CeCe’s legs. Allie perched on CeCe’s chest and starting purring. Soon, CeCe fell back to sleep.
Officer Hayes, can you access the scene for the viewers? I have never seen so many cars piled up and the damage is extensive. Jones asked, it’s a clear stretch of road, what happened? Officer Hayes replied, it appears to be an unfortunate chain of events, but we’re still investigating. As crews scrambled to remove the injured from the scene, helicopters drowned out the rest of the interview.
Over the next several weeks, Nurse Jean and Allie visited regularly. CeCe was not sure about the time or the day. And she also thought it was odd that Nurse Jean wore a 1940 nurse’s uniform with a starched hat and apron, white oxfords, and one of those watches pinned to her - 52 -
pocket. CeCe didn’t really care. When Nurse Jean came, her legs felt better, and Allie distracted the pain in her arm with a swish, swish of her tail.
Within weeks, CeCe was a star of the PT department. She was up, walking and her arm was almost back to normal. She had no memory of the accident, but she did know her name, the name of the current President, what year it was, etc.
One day, Nurse Jean said, our time is almost up. CeCe was confused. What do you mean?
Nurse Jean continued. I must go. I’ve done my best. You never should have taken the interstate, so we’re trying to…. It’s hard to explain. Besides Allie needs to go home too. The rest is up to you.
On the day that CeCe was going to leave the hospital, a young candy stripper came into her room offering a newspaper and magazines. CeCe said, you look like Nurse Jean.
The young women looked startled. Nurse Jean was my grandmother. Did you know her?
CeCe said, wait don’t leave me. My arm still hurts, my legs….
CeCe said, yes, she came to visit me almost every day with her cat Allie. If it weren’t for her, I don’t think that I would be going home today. She was so kind, and Allie made me feel like I was home because I missed my cat.
Nurse, nurse come quickly, she is awake. CeCe thought she heard her Mom’s voice.
Mom, Dad, what’s going on. Oh, honey it’s a Christmas miracle, you’re awake.
The young candy stripper, backed away, looked at CeCe and said, my grandmother and her cat have been dead for years.
What do you mean, I’m awake? Nurse Jean and Allie have been coming for weeks. I’ve been awake for a long time. Her Mom and Dad looked at each other, confused and concerned.
Just then the doctor and the nurse entered. Together they completed a thorough examination. It’s amazing, the Doctor stated, but she seems to have come out of the coma without any permanent damage. Of course, we’ll have to run more tests. After that, we can begin Physical Therapy to get her arm and legs strong again.
Authors Note: Sometimes you take a right, other times you take a left. Was it your decision or was it fate? You meet people throughout your life who make a difference. Some are real or perhaps some are imagined.
Susan has a varied background in customer service, account management, technical writing, course development, and training. Her specialties are Team leadership, training, technical writing, and public relations. Connect with Susan via LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/susan-j-decrescenzo-527148/
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The August issue of Connections eMagazine is dedicated to the winners of our annual Reader’s Choice Awards. We had some amazing books from some talented authors. I hope you will take a minute to check them out.
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Discover more about Connections eMagazine on their website here: https://melaniepsmith.com/emagazine-landing/ - 54 -
Western Wildlife by Melanie P. Smith
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Editor In Chief—Hannah Howe The Editor-in-Chief is the key figure in every publication. Hannah Howe works closely with the editorial staff to ensure the success of each publication. She is the author of the Sam Smith Mystery Series, the Ann’s War Mystery Series and Saving Grace. Get to know more about Hannah, her projects and her work on Mom’s Favorite Reads website here: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/hannah-howe/
Executive Editor | Graphic Designer—Melanie P. Smith The Executive Editor / Graphic Designer is responsible for developing the layout and design of MFR eMagazine. She also works hard to create new covers each month that captures the essence of each publication. In addition to the editorial staff of Mom’s Favorite Reads, Melanie P. Smith also produces Connections eMagazine. She is a multi-genre author of Criminal Suspense, Police Procedural, Paranormal and Romance novels. Get to know more about Melanie, her projects and her work on Mom’s Favorite Reads website here: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/melanie-p-smith/
Managing Editor—Ronesa Aveela & Denise McCabe Our Managing Editors oversee the physical content of the magazine and coordinates the production schedule. There are two Managing Editors for Mom’s Favorite Reads; Ronesa Aveela and Denise McCabe. Get to know our Managing Editor’s on Mom’s Favorite Reads website here: Ronesa Aveela— A freelance artist and author of mystery romance inspired by legends and tales. https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/ronesa-aveela/
Denise McCabe— A children's book author and blogger. https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/denise-mccabe/
Art Director & Copy Editor / Proofreader — Sylva Fae Sylva Fae—Mum of three, fairy woodland owner, and author of children’s books. Sylva is is responsible for the amazing graphics that appear throughout the publication each month. She works hard to ensure the images capture the spirit and message our author's convey in their articles and stories. In addition, As Copy Editor, Sylva works hard behind the scenes to correct any grammatical, typos and spelling errors throughout the magazine. https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/sylva-fae/
Feature Editor—T.E, Hodden As Feature Editor T.E. Hodden works diligently to provide content that is interesting, informative and professional. He is a trained engineer and a life-long fan of comic books, Sci-Fi, myths, legends and history. Get to know more about TE Hodden on Mom’s Favorite Reads website here: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/t-e-hodden/
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Marketing Director—Grant Leishman Our Marketing Director, Grant Leishman, oversees marketing campaigns and social media engagement for our magazine. After an exciting career in accounting and journalism, he now focuses on his true calling—writing. Get to know more about Grant on Mom’s Favorite Reads website here: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/grant-leishman/
Young Writer Content Editor—Poppy Flynn Poppy Flynn works hard each month to generate ideas, proofread submitted content, and provide stories, articles, poems and other pieces that are creative and relevant from young writers around the world. Get to know more about our Young Writer Content Editor on Mom’s Favorite Reads website here: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/poppy-flynn/
General Content Editors and Contributors Our Content Editors are responsible for acquiring articles, short stories, etc. for the eMagazine. They work hard to make our magazine interesting and professional. Get to know our Content Editor’s on Mom’s Favorite Reads website here: Rachael Wright—https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/rachael-wright/ Val Tobin — https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/val-tobin/ Stan Phillips — https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/stan-phillips/
Discover more amazing authors… https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/
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