Mom's Favorite Reads June 2023 Issue

Page 57
4 WENDY H. JONES (Editor in
Executive Editor )
EILEEN ROLLAND (Graphic Design ) Editorial
SHEENA MACLEOD (Deputy Editor /Art Director)
5 Never miss an issue by subscribing to our FREE magazines: Editorial PAULINE TAIT (Submission Manager) MARESSA MORTIMER (Marketing) ALLISON SYMES (Story Editor) Find Us Online Facebook— Email –
6 Welcome to June 2023
Traditional English Summer Holiday by Lis McDermott 28 S. C. Skillman - Interviewed by Wendy H. Jones 10 9 TRAVEL The Israel Trail by Judith Galblum Pex 16 In The Footsteps of Ernest Hemingway by Maggie Cobbett 30 Summer Fun by Pauline Tait 46 Paranormal Warwickshire by S. C. Skillman reviewed by Wendy H. Jones 14 Illustrated Tales of Warwickshire by S. C. Skillman reviewed by Wendy H. Jones 15 The Lost Airfields of Angus by Margaret G. Bowman reviewed by Sheena Macleod 27 Mouse’s Wood: A Year in Nature by Alice Melvin reviewed by Pauline Tait 47 New Release - Abigail Returns by Pauline Tait reviewed by Sheena Macleod 53 Kawartha Country Wines by Val Tobin 44
7 FLASH FICTION AND NON-FICTION PHOTOGRAPHY ARTICLES Seasonal Crystal Grids by Lisa Shambrook 19 Margaret. G. Bowman Author of The Lost Airfields of Angus - Interviewed by Sheena Macleod 24 Rainy Days and Summer Holidays by Pauline Tait 34 Kindertransport Memorials - Stories Cast In Bronze 40 Author Pauline Tait - Interviewed by Sheena Macleod 50
STORY Joyce in Summer by Jenny Sanders 20 Theme for June - Summer Fun by Allison Symes 54 My Special Summer by Allison Symes 55 Shadows and Sun by Jenny Sanders 56 The Clubhouse by Chantal Bellehumeur 57 Summer Time by Tami C. Brown 37


REFLECTIONS BE MORE SPANIEL The Spaniel of the Opera by Peter Thomas 48 Words Matter by Wendy. H. Jones 58 June Chaos by Maressa Mortimer 36 Singing by Maressa Mortimor 23

Welcome to June 2023

Whilst I am excited about this issue, it is somewhat tinged with sadness. This will be the last issue of Mom’s Favorite Reads. In the five-anda-half years it has been running, the magazine has brought joy to so many people and it has been an honour to act as the Editor in Chief. However, all things must come to an end and the editorial team feel it is time for the magazine to retire. I would like to thank all those who have been involved in writing for the magazine; it has been a pleasure to work with you all.

I will end with some good news for the writers amongst us – Scott and Lawson Publishing are bringing out a new magazine called Writers’ Narrative, the first issue of which will be published in August this year. I am delighted to be taking on the role of Editor in Chief. So, as one magazine bows out another steps on to the stage. I hope you enjoy this issue and are looking forward to the new one.

Welcome to the June issue of Mom’s Favorite Reads eMagazine. As we move towards summer our thoughts turn to sun, sea and sand as the saying goes. It also turns to mountains and cities and anything which brings us joy. Yes, this month we celebrate summer fun. I know I certainly need a bit of summer sun in my life and fun of course. We have an interview with novelist and nonfiction writer S. C. Skillman and what a talented lady she is. As always there are short stories, flash fiction, articles, poems, book reviews and so much more.


S. C. Skillman

S. C. Skillman, I appreciate you taking the time to join us here at Mom’s Favorite Reads. I’m frightfully excited to interview you as I love your books. As you know I love a nice murder mystery.

By way of introduction tell us a bit about yourself and your books.

I live in Warwickshire, and write psychological, paranormal and mystery fiction and non-fiction under the pen-name SC Skillman. I’m a member of the Society of Authors and the Association of Christian Writers. My non-fiction books on local history are published by Amberley and include Paranormal Warwickshire and Illustrated Tales of Warwickshire; my next book, A-Z of Warwick, will be released in 2023. My new novel is being considered by an agent, and I’m working on the sequel. I also have some new ideas for non-fiction books and two of my proposals are with publishers.

I was born and brought up in Orpington, Kent, and have loved writing most of my life. I studied English Literature at Lancaster University, and my first permanent job was as a production secretary with the BBC. Later I lived for nearly five years in Australia before returning to the UK. I’ve now settled in Warwick with my husband and son, and my daughter currently lives and works in Australia.

A nice easy one - can you tell us how you came to writing?

Yes, my first inspiration was the adventure stories of Enid Blyton! I loved the Famous Five and those stories inspired me to write my own adventure stories. For me they were a kind of vicarious wish-fulfilment; I projected myself into the characters I created, who were brave, rebellious, intrepid, all the things I would have loved to be. Also, I wrote poetry; my earliest poems were rhyming comic verse, and later I

went on to more serious subjects in blank verse and attended several weekends and workshops including an Arvon Foundation poetry course. But my dream was always to succeed as a novelist. I completed a novella with a friend, during my early teens. I began writing my first full-length adult novel after I had left university.

I’m curious as to why you started out with fiction and then made the change to nonfiction. Why the change?

My non-fiction arose naturally from my blog posts. I began my blog in 2010 on my website and I write about books, films, spirituality, history, nature, people and places of inspiration. I had written a number of posts about Places of Inspiration before a fellow writer suggested I put a book together, using some of those posts. This project appealed to me, so I went ahead with it. Then members of my local writing group suggested that for this book, I confine myself to Warwickshire and include photos. Finally, I submitted the synopsis to publishers, which at that time was called ‘Spirit of Warwickshire.’ A commissioning editor at Amberley liked it and wanted it for their Paranormal series. So the first of my Warwickshire books was born.


Do you think you will move back to writing fiction or is your heart now in non-fiction?

No, I still love writing fiction, but also greatly enjoy writing non-fiction; I love researching stories, interviewing people, and taking photos. I write my novels alongside the non-fiction projects.

How do you balance writing both?

If I have a deadline to deliver a manuscript, then of course that takes precedence. That’s really how I balance writing projects.

You seem to be fascinated by the history of Warwickshire. Where did this interest come from?

My initial Places of Inspiration included several places in the Cotswolds and in Warwickshire simply because Warwickshire is where I currently live and the Cotswolds is easy to travel to. Warwickshire has a special appeal because of its association with William Shakespeare who was born and brought up in Stratfordupon-Avon. Much of Warwickshire is known as Shakespeare Country, and this county has many iconic historical properties.

Often the stories of the families who lived in these properties are at the very heart of English history. The more I visited and researched, the more deeply drawn in I felt. Also Shakespeare’s ghosts and spirits provided a wonderful theme for me, and that was enhanced by the Stratford Town Ghost Tour which I have been on more than once; it’s usually led by an actor from the Royal Shakespeare Company. All these elements combined to make Warwickshire a rich subject for me.

(unless it’s terrible, which is rare). I’m about to start reading The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende. I’ve just finished The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters. My lifelong preference is for Gothic stories and my greatest loves have been the novels of the Bronte Sisters, Dickens’ Great Expectations, The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, The Portrait of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, and so on. I love the gothic genre because it always includes thwarted desires, a young innocent in jeopardy, a claustrophobic enclosed environment, fear of the unknown, family secrets, and a taste of the supernatural or paranormal all the things I love, and many are included in my own novels! Using these tropes, a writer may explore the deepest areas of the human spirit. However, I also love reading fantasy, psychological thrillers, historical fiction and humorous novels, and many other genres too.

This is the hardest question to answer for a writer and reader, if you could choose only one book that shaped your journey as a reader, what would it be?

This is indeed difficult to answer, and I’ll have to give two options: Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment on the one hand, and JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings on the other. Make what you like of that!

We always ask authors about their own books but never ask them about their reading habits. What do you read to relax and what books would you pack to go on holiday?

I have a very wide reading taste: just look at my Goodreads profile and you’ll see my reading tastes as I always review every book I read


Which author do you think has most influenced your writing?

I often think influences are unconscious, and I have also been influenced by TV dramas, plays and films. These are the stories that have elements which I believe may have influenced me: The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde, An Inspector Calls by JB Priestley, The Breakthrough by Daphne du Maurier and The Bell by Iris Murdoch.

Do you have a favourite book on Writing and if so, what is it? Again, I know this is a tough one, especially when you have so many friends in the writing world.

My favourite book on writing is the one by Stephen King: On Writing. I found it inspirational, encouraging, and also very moving. My other choice would be Story by Robert McKee, which is superb, and breaks down story structure referring to screenplays, which applies equally to writing novels.

I have reviewed Paranormal Warwickshire and Illustrated Tales of Warwickshire for the magazine. Who would these books appeal to?

My first two Warwickshire books appeal to all those who love travelling within the UK, England’s history, unexplained mysteries, and Shakespeare. I don’t believe you need to be “a believer” as such to be fascinated by ghost stories. You can be sceptical and still fascinated by the stories people tell. My stance is objective, and I report the experiences people have described to me, or stories I have read about, but I try not to make any assumptions that I myself believe in the reality of ghosts; in fact, I believe there are several interesting theories out there which may account for these experiences.

I’m curious as to how much from your life as a writer spills over to and shapes your fiction or, indeed your non-fiction?

A great deal of my life-experience has shaped my fiction; people I have met in different situations have appeared in composite fictional

characters and I particularly enjoy observing the interaction of diverse personalities in ‘hothouse’ situations like weekend workshops, retreats and conferences, therapy groups, dinner parties, etc, which is very much to the fore in my fiction. Both Mystical Circles and A Passionate Spirit have characters and situations which have arisen from my own life experience.

You are a prolific writer with numerous books under your belt. What does a writing day look like for you?

If I have a deadline or a book which is really going well, I’ll write straight away in the morning or at any time of day; of course, it is interspersed with emails, promotional activities and domestic tasks. Then of course there are the days when I’m driving round doing research and taking photos. I prefer to keep the evenings for social, family, relaxation time and reading.


If you could go anywhere in the world to write, where would it be and why?

It would probably be Queensland, Australia, in the mountains of the Gold Coast hinterland, in a clifftop retreat among the rainforests.

My final question, which one of your books would you recommend Mom’s Favorite Reads readers, read? Now that’s a mouthful and I wouldn’t want to try saying it after a glass of wine.

I would recommend A Passionate Spirit (gothic paranormal mystery set in the Cotswolds), because although it’s had some fabulous reviews from readers who really ‘get’ it, I believe it deserves more love. My pitch for it is: “A little girl lost. An ill-omened spiritual healer A raven with its eye on a prize.” The novel is saying some very important things I care about a lot, has emerged from my personal experience, and I’d love it to go further… like a film or a TV drama mini-series. I wish I’d put more promotional push behind it. My daughter, who is a filmmaker, created a brilliant and very creepy book trailer for the novel. So, I’d say: sit down with a glass of wine and read it!

Thank you very much, Wendy, for giving me this opportunity to share my writing and reading life with the readers of Mom’s Favorite Reads. I’ve greatly enjoyed answering your questions.

Wendy H. Jones is the award winning, international best-selling author of the DI Shona McKenzie Mysteries, Cass Claymore Investigates Mysteries, Fergus and Flora Mysteries, Bertie the Buffalo children’s books and the Writing Matters books for writers. She is also a writing and marketing coach. You can learn more about Wendy on her website:


Paranormal Warwickshire


‘Warwickshire is a county steeped in the supernatural, as befits the county of Shakespeare and the many ghosts and spirits that he conjured up in his works. The towns and villages of Warwickshire, its castles, houses, churches, theatres, inns, and many other places, both grand and everyday have rich and complex stories to tell of paranormal presences.

In this book author S. C. Skillman investigates the rich supernatural heritage of this county at the heart of England in places such as Guy’s Cliffe House, the Saxon Mill, Kenilworth Castle,

Warwick Castle, St Mary’s Church in Warwick, Nash’s House and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, and Stoneleigh Abbey, as well as in the towns of Rugby, Nuneaton and Leamington Spa.

She explores the spiritual resonance of each location, recounting the tales of paranormal activity associated with it and examining the reasons for this within the history of the place. Paranormal Warwickshire takes the reader into the world of ghosts and spirits in the county, following their footsteps into the unknown. These tales of haunted places, supernatural happenings and shadowy presences will delight the ghost hunters and fascinate and intrigue everybody who knows Warwickshire.


This is an extremely well written book and, from the level of detail in the writing, it is obvious it was extremely well researched. The author obviously knows the area well and their passion for everything about the area shines through on every page. Even if the reader is not in Warwickshire this book is still fascinating. I know I learned so much from reading it.

Whilst one might not know the area well most readers will know of Shakespeare who was, himself, fascinated by the paranormal. This aspect is a unique twist and I loved reading about the various hauntings. This is a book for everyone who is interested in ghosts, hauntings and/or travel. It is certainly entertaining – the type of book you can dip in and out of with a coffee or on the bus.


Illustrated Tales of Warwickshire

Lower Quinton associated with witchcraft, along with other strange tales from the surrounding towns and villages. These stories are accompanied by the author’s photographs in this hugely entertaining book.


Warwickshire, often known as Shakespeare’s County, has a host of strange and mysterious tales ranging from ancient legends and stories of the supernatural to more modern documented cases. Curious beliefs and customs were once widespread in Warwickshire’s towns and villages, some of which still flourish today.

These strange and spooky stories include the quirky death of the Roundhead commander who owned Warwick Castle, the association of the great author J. R. R. Tolkien with the town, and the story of the hand of glory obtained at Warwick hangings. The historic buildings of Stratford-upon-Avon have witnessed many strange events over the centuries and more recently the Crackley Wood sprite has been sighted at Kenilworth. Other stories include the Wroth Silver at Knightlow Cross, an 800year‑old violent ball game played annually at Atherstone on Shrove Tuesday, and the unresolved mystery of the 1945 murder at

I love, in fact adore, visiting new places and learning new things. If it's combined with a place associated with Shakespeare it ticks all my boxes. This book is jam-packed with fascinating information about different places in Warwickshire. The county, both historical and contemporary, is skilfully brought to life in both prose and pictures. The photographs which support the stories were taken by either S. C. Skillman herself or by members of her family. Highly professional, they are the perfect accompaniment to bring the prose to life. Or is it the prose which brings the pictures to life. I believe both are true.

The book is split into sections - from Strange and Spooky Tales to And Then The Whining Schoolboy: Lewis Carol at Rugby School, via myths, legends, witchcraft, and so much more. The stories leap off the page and into your heart and psyche.

The author, a skilled writer, brings the county to life and the stories are delightful. Of course, no book about an English County is complete without Morris Dancers. I loved the colourful images for this story, as well as the colourful description which described Morris Dancing to a T.

There is something for everyone in this book whether you are visiting Warwickshire or not. If you are visiting, or live anywhere nearby, I would say it is a must read.

This review was first published in Wendy H. Jones Bookaholic on 24 04 22


The Israel Trail

Do you enjoy traveling to exotic places, challenging yourself physically, learning about the history and geography of the Bible firsthand, meeting amazing people, and experiencing different cultures? And do you have two months to spare?

Then hiking the Israel Trail, a 1100-kilometer (683 miles) trek from Israel’s northern to southern border, might be a perfect fit for you. But equally, if you can’t see yourself on this adventure, you may enjoy reading travel memoirs, vicariously experiencing someone else’s journey, and learning about distant places.

Firstly, what is the Israel National Trail, more commonly known as the “Israel Trail” or “Shvil Israel” in Hebrew? Inaugurated in 1995 and named by National Geographic as one of the world’s twenty most epic trails, the Trail encompasses a variety of spectacular scenery from the rough desert to flowing streams and waterfalls (in the springtime); the Sea of Galilee, Mediterranean and Dead Seas; Jerusalem and Tel Aviv; Arab towns and villages; and winds past Jewish, Muslim, Druze, and Christian holy sites.

Who walks the Trail? In the beginning, the hikers were mainly young Israelis who completed their army service and wanted to get to know their land before traveling abroad for work or to study. But with a comprehensive guidebook in English, as well as apps, easier logistics due to water tanks at critical spots along the way, and the extensive network of “Trail Angels” who offer accommodation and other help to travelers, more and more people from all over the world are discovering this unique experience.

My husband, John, and I had the privilege of walking the Israel Trail in 2005 when we were both in our late fifties. We had lived in Israel for thirty years having immigrated from the U.S. and Holland. In Israel, we both began to read the Bible and believe in Jesus. After we met each other here and married, we decided to make Israel our home and settled in Eilat, a small town wedged between the Red Sea with its coral reefs, and the Rocky Mountains. With warm weather year-round, Eilat is an international tourist destination.

We always loved traveling, hospitality, and meeting people from different countries, so several years after moving to Israel we opened the Shelter Hostel, a guesthouse in Eilat. “Love God” and “love your neighbor as yourself” are


our guiding principles for life and for the Shelter as we’ve sought to create a welcoming atmosphere catering to body, soul, and spirit, and are a home away from home for travelers. Between managing the Shelter with its forty-two guest beds, mentoring our volunteers, and raising four children, our lives were busy.

On one of our getaways in a remote desert oasis, we met two young people who told us they were hiking the Israel Trail. After a short discussion, we concluded it was something we’d like to attempt ourselves, though we hadn’t backpacked since our twenties. But we love discovering places that are off the beaten path in Israel, and our children were all grown. Our daughter, together with a friend from abroad and the volunteers, could manage the hostel in our place.

This would be the sabbatical we had never taken, a chance to disconnect from our normal lives, focus on God, bond more deeply with each other, and visit friends as we trekked north. Upon returning home from that encounter, I bought a book called “Israel Trail,” sought out others who’d walked it, and looked on the internet. But twenty years ago, the Trail was still relatively new, and information wasn’t readily available. A year later we were finally ready to go. And, as in every long-awaited plan, we had expectations for our journey but tried to be realistic and willing to stop if health issues or anything else got in the way.

The first day was fourteen kilometers mostly uphill. My backpack weighed heavily on my shoulders but our simple meal of rice, a cucumber, carrot, and apple while sitting around our little campfire, tasted better than any I’d ever eaten before. While sleeping on my thin ground pad, I felt as rested as in any hotel, not just five stars – we had thousands of stars above us. Crawling into our sleeping bags, John immediately fell asleep, but I managed to record the day’s experiences in my journal, a habit I continued for the length of our trip.

Day by day we progressed northward, not ceasing to marvel, “Can you believe we walked to Jerusalem/ Tel Aviv/ Ben Gurion Airport?” After eighteen days we completed the desert section and entered more populated areas. We were able to sleep at friends’ houses, and food and water were more readily available The scenery changed from stark, rocky brown hills to green meadows studded with red poppies and yellow mustard plants. We forded streams and walked by waterfalls.

We reached the end on our thirtieth wedding anniversary, our forty-second walking day. We made it. We walked the length of Israel, a thousand kilometers. Part of me didn’t want to stop but to just keep going, maybe even turn around and walk home. I knew I’d miss the silence, the simple lifestyle, and absence of distractions.

I learned a lot during the trip. Life itself is a journey, just like the Trail. As King Solomon said: “Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil,” (Proverbs 4:2527). Many times, we lost the trail signs and strayed off the path. If we weren’t paying attention, we stumbled and slipped. In my life, the Bible is my guide like maps when hiking.

Walking the Israel Trail changed my life, not only for the experience and memories it gave me. It turned me into an author as after returning home I wrote a travel memoir called Walk the Land – A Journey on Foot through


Israel and have gone on to write three more books. Furthermore, we developed a desire to trek other long-distance trails and have since walked parts of the Camino de Santiago three times, and we listed our Shelter Hostel as a trail angel, keeping us in contact with Israel Trail hikers.

Arise and walk the land,” God said to Abraham. In some ways, our walk was the continuation of a journey we began when we arrived

in Israel. We were a couple of hippies traveling around the world when someone suggested we read the Bible, the Old and New Testaments. A new life opened for us, and we found the love, joy, and peace we had been seeking. We discovered that Jesus is the promised Messiah for Israel and the world. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

Judith Galblum Pex was born in the United States but has been living in Eilat, Israel with her husband, John, since 1976 where they manage the Shelter Hostel, a guest house for travelers from all over the world. Judith has written four books, Walk the Land – A Journey on Foot through Israel, A People Tall and Smooth – Stories of Escape from Sudan to Israel, Come, Stay, Celebrate: The Story of the Shelter Hostel in Eilat, Israel, and To Belong: A Novel.


Seasonal Crystal Grids

June – Litha, the Summer Solstice, and the longest day of the year is found on 24th June this year. As we realise the days will start becoming shorter we appreciate the light and warmth that we have, along with the coming harvests. As crops reach maturity we give thanks to the earth for its abundance.

Litha, Summer Harmony is a crystal grid for Harmony and Healing. Green Opal sits aside a mossy twig bringing harmony, healing, and rejuvenation. Labradorite gives protection and connection to the universe. Pyromorphite, tiny crystals like moss on a stone, offers peace and serenity. The Shaman stone, Lodolite Quartz, along with Smoky Quartz, is a stone with strong healing qualities. Citrine is full of joy and summer sunshine. The Lodolite point is topped with Moldavite, a star-born stone, bringing power and awareness, and Peridot for fire and light and growth. Lemon Balm leaves add the elixir of life.

Crystal Grids made by Lisa Shambrook for mindfulness, meditation, and art. Prints of some grids are available at You can find out more about the sensory author and artist, who will lift your spirit, steal your heart, and ignite your imagination at She also loves dragons and squirrels.

Lisa Shambrook is an author, artist, and dreamer who loves dragons. Born and raised in vibrant Brighton, England, living by the ocean heavily influenced her lyrical and emotional writing. She now lives in Carmarthen, West Wales, another town rich in legend and lore. A sensory writer, Lisa delves into sensitive subject matters that will lift your spirit and steal your heart.


Joyce in Summer

autumn, and broke her hip? She’s still doing her physiotherapy exercises now; says it’s really stiff when she wakes up in the mornings. I may not have broken anything, but I was in a heap of pain, I can tell you.

I’ll mend eventually; but that’s the thing, isn’t it? When you get to my age, you just don’t bounce like you used to. Kids can fall out of a tree, and still be leaping around in the park the next day in one of those plaster casts. I’ve got a bandage on my ankle and dab at the cuts and bruises night and morning with calamine lotion; but I don’t think I’ll be leaping anywhere for a while.

Well now, you’ve caught me on the hop here today. Look at me; all at sixes and sevens. The kettle’s just boiled, and frankly, I was looking for an excuse to sit down with this cuppa, so that’s perfect.

What a lot can happen in a couple of months! Last time I chatted to you, we were looking forward to the coronation weren’t we? I can tell you that Viv did come round, and there was a street party; all as we’d planned. I even made the cake I promised. What I didn’t plan was tripping over some trailing bunting and falling flat on my face. It shook me up, I can tell you. Fortunately, with so many people around, I had a lot of help. Nothing broken, I’m glad to say, but it made us all have a jolly good think. If I’d have been on my own in the house, it might have been a different story.

As it is, I’ve got bruises all up my left arm where I took the brunt of the fall, a slice up my leg where I met a pile of cake tins, and the remains of a black eye, fading to a delicate shade of rotten banana. I know, I know; I should have been more careful. Remember when my friend Viv fell outside the shop last

Anyway, all this to say, that of course, the kids freaked out. ‘What if you’d been home alone, Mum?’ Corinne shrieked down the phone. ‘Good job I wasn’t,’ I replied; but they weren’t having it. I’d probably have been the same if it were my mum.

Matthew turned up on my doorstep having changed his shifts around, and bumped some


poor persons operation – he’s a surgeon you’ll remember. (His Dad was so proud; we never thought we’d have one of those in our family. He was the first to get a university education until Corinne went a couple of years later to study English literature. Chalk and cheese those two.) Anyway, he wasn’t happy at all and started talking about care homes. I gave him pretty short shrift, as you can imagine.

Corinne was on a call with him for ages; apparently planning to move me down there to live with them. You’d think I wasn’t even in the room hearing every word! They were talking about remodelling the house, knocking down a couple of walls and adding a granny flat. I had to put my foot down sharpish. Between them, they’d have had me moved around like a parcel somewhere or other. ‘I’ve no plans to go anywhere,’ I told them. ‘Your Dad and I lived here a good many years, and it’s full of memories I don’t intend to throw away just yet.’

It’s not as though I’m ill; that might be a different story. I just fell over –‘had a fall’, they say once you get past a certain age. Like having the measles, or having whooping cough, or something. Ridiculous.

So, long story short, once they’d both calmed down and taken some deep breaths we compromised a bit. It’s true that I’m not as on top of my cleaning as I used to be. I often nod off in this chair after lunch these days, and pushing my shopping trolley isn’t as easy as it was. I’m reluctant to tell you those things, but it is what it is. There’s no point pretending. On the other hand, I’m not decrepit yet. I’m grateful to still have my marbles – that reminds me, I need to pick up a new word search puzzle book at the newsagents next time I go that way.

Still, I only need to look out of the window to see that the seasons are changing again. The spring blossom has given way to full leaf on the trees, and the grass is growing like mad. It stands to reason that seasons of life change too. I can feel myself on the verge of a new chapter. It’s a bit unnerving, to be honest.

Anyway, it turns out there’s a lovely team of ladies up here who run a business called, Changing Seasons; how appropriate is that? It’s for people whose families aren’t local so can’t visit as often as they’d like. They come and spend some time, doing whatever you need: sorting doctor’s appointments, helping fill in those blessed forms everyone wants from you these days; generally keeping an eye on you, I think, so the family can rest assured you’re still in the land of the living.

Corinne came up last Monday, being as it was a public holiday, after the coronation. That was quite a spectacle, wasn’t it? Viv and I shared sherry, and a lunch on our laps, while we watched it on the telly. I do love a bit of pageantry, and no one does it like us Brits; well, we’ve got a lot of history, haven’t we?


Anyway, where was I?

Yes, Corinne came, and we had an appointment for a lady to come (so kind of her to give up her public holiday) and do an assessment. Sounded a bit ominous to me, but it was all very friendly. Lovely girl. Emma, her name is. We just chatted really. She asked about my health, what I do with my week, my friends; that sort of thing.

So, as it stands, Emma is going to come twice a week. She can take me to the shops, which saves all that waiting for a bus in the rain lark. She’s happy to help with those practical things, plus she told me about a couple of lunch clubs in town which I didn’t know about. Viv goes to one run by her church, but it’s on a Wednesday, which is market day, and I don’t like to miss that. Emma might take me first thing, and then I could perhaps go there afterwards without being too tired. I’d like that.

I told you, I went to Viv’s church for their harvest supper back in the autumn. There’s some nice folk there. It might be good for me to spend some time getting to know some other locals on her side of town.

Matthew has sorted for a cleaner to come once a fortnight, which will take the pressure off a bit. Hope she knows what she’s doing –or maybe it will be a ‘he’; equality and all that. Anyway, whoever it is, I’ll be checking they’ve dusted the skirting boards, and on top of the doors; that’s always how you know whether they’re conscientious. If not, they’ll be getting their marching orders, but I’ll live in hope until then.

The kids are picking up the expense between them, which is really kind.

It does seem rather odd, all this change. It reminds me of the passage our headmistress used to read at the end of every school term from the big leather school Bible. I still remember it now:

‘There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die…’

Well, I’m not ready to die yet!

It doesn’t frighten me. No; I have a simple faith; have done since Sunday school days. I know it’s real, and I know where I’m going, so there’s no problem there. I hope it’s quick and not too painful, but even that I have to leave with the Almighty. In my experience, He knows what He’s doing; it’s people who ignore Him, then mess things up and try to blame Him that baffle me. It makes no sense.

Anyway, that passage goes on a bit, but the line I always remember is that there’s:

‘a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…’

I like that. I think I’ve got a few more years of laughing and dancing in me before I’m done; at least, I hope so. Meanwhile, I’m content to drink my cuppa, do my puzzles, enjoy my friends, and then let’s see what this new season holds. Perhaps I’ll see you again in the next chapter.

Jenny Sanders is a writer, speaker, encourager and mentor. She loves writing, reading and walking in nature whenever she can. For the past several years she’s lived between the beautiful cities of Bath, UK and Cape Town, S Africa. Her exciting and humorous new children’s book The Magnificent Moustache and Other Stories is now available published by The Conrad Press.



Matthew 26:30

Do you like singing? Can you sing? I suppose most people can sing, but can you hold a tune? Years and years ago, I was in a children’s choir, and a little girl joined. She liked singing; the problem was, she was tone-deaf. She could only sing a very low, monotonous tone, like the low hum of the bagpipes. In the end, they had a quiet word with the mum, and the girl left the choir.

Singing together is special. Services are rounded off with a final hymn. And in Matthew 26, we read how Jesus set up what we now call The Lord’s Supper or Eucharist. At the end of that meal, they sang a hymn, which was one of the Psalms meant for the Passover meals, and then they went out to the Mount of Olives and Gethsemane. It was a final act, in a sense, where they were all together. A closing of the door on Jesus’ three years of ministry, and He now went out to His death.

Singing has many benefits, and singing together has even more. Somehow, I feel the summer is great for this, there is often music, street parties and that kind of thing. It’s also a wonderful time of the year to praise God for His many blessings. I wonder if the handiness of portable music players/car radios etc, has replaced our singing? I think of walking parties in the past, signing lustily along the dusty lanes. Now people walk with earphones in, and there is just the singing of birds. There were songs whilst working, washing, playing, hiking and rowing. It feels like a loss, doesn’t it? So, here’s a lovely summer challenge for you: Try and sing something lovely, something beautiful, something uplifting every day. And if your singing is like the little girl’s? No worries, I’m not asking you to join a choir. Yet!

Maressa Mortimer is Dutch but lives in the beautiful Cotswolds, England with her husband and four (adopted) children. She is a homeschool mum and a pastor’s wife,. She loves writing Christian fiction, as it’s a great way to explore faith in daily life. Her books are available from her website,, Amazon or local bookshops.


Margaret. G. Bowman Author of The Lost Airfields of Angus

talk about this book, could you tell our readers a little bit about yourself and your writing journey?

Hello and thank you. I was born and raised in Dunfermline in the beautiful Kingdom of Fife, Scotland. I came to Dundee many years ago to commence a career as a Registered General Nurse, which after 40 years, I retired from the post of Clinical Nurse Manager for Trauma and Orthopaedics. I have a ‘vivid imagination’ and always wanted to be a writer, but never had the time to pursue writing as work always got in the way. Things changed in 2016, when the opportunity arose to take early retirement and I have never looked back.

I joined Angus Writers’ Circle which is a local writing group whose members have the desire to progress in the field of literary works and I am now their President, representative to the Scottish Association of Writers and their Press Secretary. I’m also the Secretary of Tay Writers in Dundee and a member of Fife Writes. When I have time between writing projects, I am the Press Secretary for Carnoustie and District Heritage Group.

What led to you to write a book about the lost airfields of Angus?

It was living in rural Angus that prompted me to write The Lost Airfields of Angus, my debut book which won awards from the Scottish Association of Writers in 2020 and 2021. Where I live there is a road that leads to Arbroath through the back of the old airfield at RM Condor which was known as HMS Condor, a Fleet

Air Arm base during WWII. There was an old dilapidated Nissen Hut and Hangar with an old Anderson Shelter close to the roadside, and I thought, if someone does not photograph and write about these now, they will fall to pieces and part of our history will be lost forever. Having previously written feature articles for many historical magazines, I thought this would make an interesting story and even provisionally selected the title as ‘Huts and Hangars’ but once I started to research the background of the other airfields in Angus, I soon realised this was a much bigger project than an article, so that is how it all started.

It is a fascinating subject. How did you go about researching the information for this book?

Living in the middle of these wartime airfields, I found their history fascinating and although many WWII veterans are no longer with us, there are still plenty of locals in the area keen to share stories of their wartime childhoods.


The more I researched, the more I realised the importance this relatively small Scottish county had during a period of volatile history. I decided to include WWI as well as WWII sites as some were operational during this time span.

I was fascinated to learn there were so many Scottish aviation pioneers from the area such as James Tytler from Fern near Brechin, who was educated at the University of Edinburgh and who performed the first British flight in a hot air balloon of his own design in 1784 which was called The Edinburgh Fire Balloon. Preston Watson from Dundee, was also recognised for being the designer of a ‘motorised heavierthan -air flying machine’ in 1903 with his first flight taking place at Errol. He died in 1915 during WWI when the aircraft he was flying crashed mid-flight, killing him on impact. Robert Watson-Watt, the Scottish pioneer of radar whose incredible work was a major factor in the defence of the nation, came from Brechin. All this history and I lived in the centre of it.

was RAF Edzell, my companion and myself were spotted taking photographs of the old runway and were viewed as acting ‘most suspiciously’. We almost got ourselves arrested! This site was a secret high-directional surveillance base post-war used by the USN and although little of that era remains above ground, the old WWII structures are still visible and that was only what I was interested in!

Every area had its troublemakers and I selected two high-profile cases from the area. One was the story of Jessie Jordan, from Dundee who spied for the Germans prior to WWII by giving them details of our coastal defences including sketches of the famous Tay Rail Bridge and military bases. Her behaviour was careless, leaving information lying by the till at her hairdressing salon thus leading to her arrest in 1938. The other was a fascinating story about Arbroath’s notorious nazi-sympathising aristocrat, Archibald Henry Maule Ramsay a descendent of the 12th Earl of Dalhousie. He established a fascist secret society called the Right Club whilst a Member of Parliament for Peebles and Midlothian. He was jailed in 1940 at Brixton Prison in London in which he still demanded his ‘parliamentary privileges’.

There are still some surviving military structures visible in the airfields. I visited each site and took contemporary photographs of the visible remains but I also was fortunate to have made contacts through the Montrose Air Museum and Heritage Centre of interested enthusiasts who were more than keen to share their knowledge and images. Montrose was Scotland’s first operational military airfield situated at Upper Dysart, prior to moving to the Broomfield site where it functions today as a fascinating centre of excellence for visitors and enthusiasts. RM Condor is a functioning military base, home of 45 Commando, which I required permission and security clearance and escort to enter. The remaining sites I could visit and photograph easily except RNAS East Haven which has gone back to agriculture, as many did post-war, and now has silos covering most of the disused runways. When I visited what

I toiled over almost 4 years researching local and nearby areas. My sources were Angus Archives; Dundee Archives; University of Dundee Archives; Montrose Air Museum and Heritage Centre; Libraries throughout Angus and Dundee; published material in specific military books; articles; newspaper archives; Military Organisations Archives (RAF; FAA etc); OnLine Publications; Film productions; TV documentaries and the most important individuals were people with stories, memories, and recollections of their own or through their families.

The images are spectacular. Where did you get your graphics from?

Most of the images presented in The Lost Airfields of Angus are my own and a colleague from Montrose Air Station was happy for me to also use his collection. Some historical images were taken from Public Domain sites on-line and the two spies photographs are under Crown Copyright due to their sensitive nature, which meant I had to purchase licenses for their use in a commercial sense.


What are you working on now? Can we expect a follow up?

My next project which I am currently steeped in research material for is ‘Wartime Defences of the Tay Estuary’. This examines the areas north and south of the Firth of Tay from Buddon Ness on the North to Fife Ness on the south. The format will be like ‘The Lost Airfields’ – but obviously the area coverage is much greater. I will be including land, sea and air defences travelling through Monifieth, Broughty Ferry, to Dundee – which was home of the 9th Flotilla Submarine Base HMS Ambrose; then onto Stannergate Seaplane Base operational from 1913, HMS Cressy the RNR Drill Ship which also trained WRENS; then along the Carse of Gowrie to RAF Errol. Crossing over onto the Fife side, from Newburgh; Wormit – RAF Woodhaven seaplane base and home of Norwegian 333 Squadron; Newport/ Tayport/Tentsmuir’ RAF Leuchars and RAF Stravithie to RNAS Crail and RNAS Dunino at Fife Ness.

I have been so fortunate this far to have met some wonderful individuals who clearly recollect the wartime years and have also collected memories from veterans who had joined the Services nearly at the end of WWII, but whose recollections are as clear as it were yesterday! Presently I am about 60% complete with the view to publication by either the end of this year or certainly the start of 2024.

What I learned by experience from my first book is – prepare my Reference and Bibliography lists as I go, also my Index!! This saves a lot of time and nervous exhaustion.

Margaret, thank you for joining us at Mom’s Favorite Reads. We wish you every success with your future writing.

Margaret’ G. Bowman is an award-winning author. Her works include mainly historical features and poetry which has been published in various history and other magazines in the UK. She’s had poetry published in the Scottish Book Trust ‘Rebel’ and ‘Future’ editions; The Writers’ Umbrella; Angus Writers’ Circle Anthology- A Kist of Scots, the University of Dundee Botanical Garden Anthology and, Fife Writes Anthology –‘Wild’ published in 2023 which was launched during Stanza week at St Andrews. She also writes Theatre Reviews for Abbey Theatre Club in Arbroath and the Carnoustie Theatre Group productions.

Sheena Macleod lectured at the University of Dundee, where she gained her PhD. She now lives in a seaside town in Scotland. Reign of the Marionettes is her first novel. She mainly writes historical fiction and non-fiction. You can learn more about Sheena on her website:


The Lost Airfields of Angus

The small Scottish county of Angus, situated between the North Sea coastline and the Grampian Mountains, played a significant military role in both World Wars—primarily providing training bases for novice pilots, night flying, deck landing as well as coastal defence.

Entries cover the military airfields providing their brief history construction and function; aircraft types; location details; period and

contemporary photography of surviving buildings designed to capture the interest of the enthusiast and historian, local history groups and visitors to the region.


This non-fiction book about the lost Angus Airfields is jam-packed full of information, not just about the airfields themselves but the people who utilised them during the First and Second World Wars.

As someone who lives in the geographical area covered, I have to say that I was unaware of the vast majority of the history attached to these airfields. Margaret does a fantastic job of bringing them back to life for the reader. And she is right, without such a record, these airfields could slide further into decay and then oblivion, with little available evidence remaining of their existence.

I’m a sucker for lesser-known historical details, and am impressed by the sheer volume and detail contained within the content of The Lost Airfields of Angus. It is one of those books that you can either read straight through or just dip in and out of as you please. An extensive reference list and bibliography of sources is included which will aid further reading and there is a clear index provided of the content.

Whether you are a historian, a student looking for reference material, or are just someone with a general interest in the local area or in airfields, then this book would be a worthy addition to your bookshelf.


Traditional English Summer Holiday

Everyone looks forward to escaping on summer holidays, Time to get away from the humdrum and relax in the sun, Forget work, laze around all day, soaking up the rays, looking forward to a week or maybe several weeks of fun.

Children play happily with their buckets and spades, building their castle of dreams in the sand, Whilst Granny Pam, remains hidden in the shade, listening to the distant, melodies of the town brass band.

Siblings chase each other at the seas edge, along the beach While Dad juggles a bouquet of many flavoured ice-creams, as they drip their luscious promise just out of everyone’s reach. Mum relaxes, devouring a romance, starring the man of her dreams.

Out at sea, an array of bright, inflatable creatures float passed, Echoing squeals of delight escape from riders of a large pink flamingo; On the distant horizon, a flotilla of sailing boats, whose bobbing masts, appear and disappear with the tides swell of highs and lows.


Around midday, everyone starts to get the munchies. Keeping a wary eye on the skies for seagulls, such greedy birds, Hovering overhead as you tuck into your packed lunches, they swoop, grab free fish and chips, hunting in delinquent herds.

When the summer showers appear, families decant to the pier, spending time playing crazy golf or visiting the amusement arcade, Anything to keep the kids entertained, whilst waiting for the all clear, When the sun reappears, they set off for a leisurely promenade.

Tired families trundle back to their choice of seaside-family abode, rock-pool treasure; sea-shells, pebbles in buckets, dripping all the way. Children sleep, parents, glasses of wine in hand, rest before they implode, then plan exciting excursions and prepare to press repeat for the next day.

After a long career in music within education, and as an OFSTED inspector, Lis began to focus on her other passions, photography, and writing. Working as professional headshot photographer and writing coach. She has since published numerous books on photography, poetry, short stories, and romantic suspense.


In the Footsteps of Ernest Hemingway

As our little plane flew over the mangroves and aquamarine waters of the Straits of Florida, we braced ourselves for a bumpy landing on Key West’s short runway but need not have worried. Our pilot had only been teasing us and we hardly felt the wheels’ first contact with the asphalt. The heat and glare of the afternoon sun, on the other hand, hit us like a clenched fist as we made our way towards the low rise buildings of the little airport. To be allowed simply to walk across from the plane seemed delightfully informal by today’s standards and we were very quickly ushered through the baggage claim and out to the taxi rank. This laid back attitude was shared by our driver and, indeed, by just about everyone else we met during our brief stay. If there is one part of the United States of America where ‘anything goes’, this seemed to be it.

Key West, the southernmost city in the continental United States, is much closer to Cuba than to mainland Florida. Ernest Hemingway first stopped there in 1928 on a visit home from Paris via Cuba and fell in love with the island despite its rather seedy reputation. It is very easy to understand why. Flat as a board and measuring only four miles long by one mile wide, its 13 000 inhabitants shared a huge expanse of sea and sky, balmy weather, spectacular sunsets, big game sports fishing and a deep rooted drinking culture. Its many bars were gregarious, rough and ready places that suited Hemingway, for whom the word ‘macho’ might have been invented, down to the ground. Prohibition was never taken seriously in Key West, supplied as it was by Cuban rum runners.

There are twice as many residents now as in those days and their numbers are swelled each year by throngs of visitors, many of whom make their way to a Spanish colonial style house on Whitehead Street. Quite secluded in the 1930s and rather dilapidated, it was a belated wedding present for Hemingway and his second wife Pauline from her rich Uncle Gus. Having lived in rented properties for their first three years, the young couple immediately set about improving it. The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum has long been Key West’s main tourist attraction and was the one that I was keenest to explore.

Firstly, though, we had to settle into the room we had booked. Although only one block away from bustling Duval Street, which runs from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic and is the main thoroughfare of Key West, the Best Western Hibiscus had the dual advantage of


being in a quiet setting and within easy walking distance of everything we wanted to see and do. Our taxi dropped us off there much earlier than was usual for new arrivals, but the friendly receptionist, not at all put out, arranged for us to access our light and airy room straight away. Overlooking the big pool and jacuzzi, it had everything we needed, including a fridge, microwave and coffee maker.

We took that first day at a mellow pace, ambling around the streets, eating Key Lime pie for lunch and pausing regularly for liquid refreshment in the many bars. At some point we also visited the cemetery with its above ground graves and read some of the funny inscriptions. Where else would you find, ‘I told you I was sick’, ‘At least I know where he’s sleeping tonight’ or ‘I’m just resting my eyes’? Right beside a stern notice forbidding gravestone rubbing, removal of tree fronds or coconuts and tours for profit, a small package was changing hands for a wad of notes. Had we come across this scenario anywhere but Key West, we might have been in danger of our lives, but the young men involved just gave us a casual nod and carried on with their business. Later on, we mingled with the street entertainers and crowds gathered in Mallory Square to watch the sun go down, picked up some black bean and spinach chimichangos from the Old Town Mexican Café and headed for bed.

Bleary-eyed after over indulgence in mojitos the previous day, I was glad to hear the coffee maker already percolating and drank several cups before heading for the shower and complimentary breakfast.

Set up for the morning, we headed off in search of Whitehead Street. The opportunity to meet the descendants of Hemingway’s famous white polydactyl cat Snowball, given to him by an old sea captain and with six toes on each paw, was as much of a draw for me as the house itself. I was not disappointed. Dozens of cats, sleek, well fed and as relaxed as any other inhabitants of Key West, had the run of both the house and its extensive gardens. Not of any particular

breed, they all had enormous feet and were named individually after film stars of Hemingway’s day like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. As well as their own cemetery in the grounds, the cats had a special drinking fountain, a water trough installed by Hemingway himself. The story went that it was an old urinal, taken from Sloppy Joe’s, his favourite bar. Pauline had tried unsuccessfully to disguise its origins by tiling the sides and attaching an old Spanish olive jar to the top.

She also oversaw the installation of a large swimming pool in the grounds while her husband was working as a war correspondent in Spain. Not only was the pool, five feet deep at one end and ten at the other, tremendously expensive to build, but it was the first one on the Florida Keys and regarded by some as a folly. Digging a hole 24 feet wide and 60 feet deep into solid coral at a cost of around $20 000 was certainly a massive undertaking by anyone’s standards. Although Hemingway planned it himself and Pauline is thought to have paid for it, he flung down a coin on his return and accused her of having spent ‘his’ last cent. She kept the coin and had it embedded in the concrete.

The pool, with gardenias blooming at the water’s edge, had a magical quality about it. Elizabeth Bishop, a friend of Pauline’s, wrote to fellow poet Robert Lowell:

The swimming pool is wonderful – it is very large and the water, from away under the reef, is fairly salt. Also it lights up at night – I find that each underwater bulb is five times the voltage of the one bulb in the lighthouse across the street, so the pool must be visible to Mars – it is wonderful to swim around in a sort of green fire, one’s friends look like luminous frogs.

Our guide, who was a great raconteur, assured us that Hemingway had become so reconciled to the pool that he had a six foot brick wall erected round the property so that he could swim nude. What a coup that would have been for the paparazzi, had they been around at the time! They would also have enjoyed taking pictures of the peacocks and, before the construction of the pool, the boxing matches organised on the lawn. The ring was moved a few blocks


to the site in Petronia Street now occupied by Blue Heaven Restaurant, of which more later.

Given the vulnerability of the Keys to tropical storms and hurricanes, we wondered how the house had survived intact since its completion in 1851 by marine architect and salvage wrecker Asa Tift. The man knew his business, though, and built it on the second highest site on the island, almost five metres above sea level. Further protection is afforded by eighteen inch thick limestone walls. When Hurricane Irma struck in 2017 the Museum’s staff defied the order to evacuate the Keys and both they and the cats survived intact. Superstitious sailors believed that six-toed cats were lucky and maybe they were right!

Pauline and one by his first wife Hadley, auctioned off the property for $80 000. The new owners, who had bought it as a private residence, were forced by the sheer volume of interest in Hemingway to open it as a museum in 1964.

I stood for a few minutes in his writing studio, where a battered typewriter on an equally battered wooden table took centre stage. There were hunting trophies on the walls and a black and white photograph of Hemingway’s much beloved fishing yacht Pilar. The guide reminded us that, amongst other work produced in that very spot, was his 1937 novel ‘To Have And Have Not’, later immortalised by the film starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.

The interior of the house was a little disappointing after the grounds. Some of the original furniture and the chandeliers with which Pauline replaced the ceiling fans were still in place, but many other pieces were removed after Hemingway’s death in 1961. His three sons, two by

I should have liked to visit Pilar, who used to be moored only a few blocks away from Whitehead Street at the Navy Yard, but it was not to be. She is on permanent display at Finca Vigia, the home overlooking Havana to which Hemingway moved with his third wife, Martha. His fourth and final wife, Mary, later gave Pilar to Gregorio Fuentes, who had served as her captain and also as the inspiration for Santiago in The Old Man and the Sea. What could be more appropriate?

Queuing to enter Hemingway’s House

Sloppy Joe’s on Duval Street, which holds an annual Ernest Hemingway look-alike contest, was very lively but not, we discovered, the bar in which the writer actually drank and first met Martha. The story goes that an unpopular rent rise led to staff and customers removing everything from the premises on Greene Street and setting up there instead. The original establishment with its wooden ceiling and cracked-tile floor was taken over in the 1950s by a charter boat captain who named it after himself. Captain Tony’s, we decided, was also well worth a visit. Already much refreshed, we then took ourselves off for dinner at The Blue Heaven Restaurant, which proved to be another very memorable experience.

Described in our guidebook as ‘hippy run’, the prices in this former bordello, where Hemingway was said to have hung out watching cockfights, were not our idea of ‘hippy’, but everyone was very friendly. Our table, in an area open to the sky, stood on a dirt floor across which passed a constant parade of both cats and chickens. We had an excellent veggie stir fry with brown rice, raised several glasses to Hemingway and finished off with Blue Heaven

special coffees. Topped with cream, they included more than a dash of Baileys. Truth be told, it was all rather a blur towards the end, which seemed quite fitting after a day devoted to following in the footsteps of a legendary drinker.

A Yorkshire girl through and through, Maggie Cobbett lives on the edge of the Dales. With five books to her credit, she also writes short stories, features and even the occasional poem. Her many travels, as well as careers in modern language teaching and television background work, have furnished an inexhaustible supply of inspiration.


Rainy Days and Summer Holidays

In 2021 The Society of Authors asked authors if they would offer their support and get behind a campaign to save our libraries.

At the time, the author within me became rattled that this question even had to be asked and, before I knew it, my fingers were rattling off the keyboard. My memories as a young child combined with my experiences as an author meant that I reached their five-hundredword limit rather quickly but, hopefully, through the power of words, my message was added to others and the value of our libraries and the dedicated librarians within them was heard.

In any case, I thought I would share my thoughts with you here, and below is my contribution to the #LibrariesAreEssential campaign…

The question, why do I think libraries are essential, took me, unexpectedly, on a journey back to my own childhood and summer holidays.

I suddenly found my inner child gripping the counter while my tiptoes gave me just enough height to watch as the librarian prepared to stamp my library card. The thud that inevitably followed was the final confirmation that my choice in books was indeed coming home with me. I would clutch the temporary additions to our family firmly in my arms and watch as the librarian busied herself between stamping my grandmother’s choices and the tower of drawers behind her. The imposing wooden structure held the world within it. The cogs of the library wheel turned with every drawer that was opened and every card that was stamped.

I remembered the people we would meet and the chatter that would ensue around our newly

selected books. And as I reminisced, I was hit with the overwhelming feeling that even although times have changed and the world has moved on, our need for libraries has most certainly not gone. Although we now independently scan our library cards and books, librarians are on the library floor, eager to help, talk books, and help you discover new authors, new worlds, and new interests.

And, although the memories from my childhood reinforce the need for our libraries, it is my career as an author that has opened my eyes fully to what our libraries and dedicated librarians do for their communities.

Librarians work hard with local schools and organisations, and I have enjoyed many great events in libraries throughout Scotland where local primary school children have come to not only hear my stories and chat about their reading and writing but also, as part of their school visit, choose a book to borrow. I ve watched as the children instinctively go to their preferred section and I ve been inspired by their willingness to search for new worlds and new characters.


But given that now more than ever, parents and carers are working, and time is often a luxury, it is thanks to our librarians and the tireless work they do to build relationships with their local primary schools, that has given many children the opportunity to benefit from our libraries. They organise and hold author events; they unite the literary world, and they open doors for many children that may not otherwise be given the opportunity. Reading is an essential building block in a child’s learning. It feeds their imaginations and their creativity, and by default improves their own writing and storytelling skills.

Our children are our future! Every single one of them! And thanks to our passionate and dedicated librarians they grow into adulthood feeling welcomed in our library system. And, as their autumn years will inevitably approach, libraries will still be there, offering a source of comfort, friendship, and familiarity as they welcome them to author and community events.

I do hope you have enjoyed my contribution, and just as libraries were there for me, they are there for you. A place of calm, quiet and safety. A place to enjoy with children as the summer holidays approach. A place to visit on rainy days, and all it will cost is a smile and hello to the librarians who welcome you into their world. Who open their doors in all weathers and who offer comfort, warmth and the literary universe for as long as you wish to enjoy it.

First published as part of the Libraries Are Essential Campaign in 2021

Pauline Tait is a prolific novelist and children’s author. Based in Perthshire, Scotland, she writes both suspenseful romance and children’s picture books for 3 to 7 years. With a background in Primary Literacy Support, Pauline is passionate in encouraging children in their own reading and writing.

Visit Pauline’s website –


I love the summer, especially when the days have a summer feel to them: warm, and dry. Every year, I think of waterplay for the children. There are different play styles in our family when it comes to water. Some need the water to be the right temperature, and they’re tired of it as soon as it has touched their toes. Others want to be wetter than wet and splash and play for hours and hours.

The water needs to be ready for play before they have lost interest, and it needs to be refreshed and cleaned easily enough for it to actually happen. So, we tried almost everything. We had the little water table, which was great when they were younger. It took three minutes to fill and ten minutes to clear and clean. They couldn’t sit in it, which was the downside for some of them, even though they tried...

We bought a proper toddler pool, easily set up, the box assured us. It wasn’t all that easy, especially as our garden is on a slope... It took a long time to fill, but also provided a long time of fun. The cleaning time also fell into the ‘long’ category...

We bought a few paddling pools over the years, but in the end, the best buy was those shells that go together. We filled both shells with water, one for sitting in and one for Playmobil and playing with toys. Easy to fill, easy to use and quick to clean.

Of course, paddling pools aren’t the only things causing chaos in the summer. Reading peacefully for a few minutes can be hard. I quite like reading on my phone, but that’s hard in the sunshine. Finding the perfect spot is needed: I can see the kids, I am in the sun, and my phone is shaded enough for me to read... By that time, some of the children will have tired of the water and need help sorting themselves and their toys out...

With June finally here, and summer not far behind, hopefully, there will be some calm days where you can enjoy the sunshine without too much chaos before or after!

Maressa Mortimer is Dutch but lives in the Cotswolds, England with her husband and four (adopted) children. She a homeschool mum and pastor’s wife, so her writing is done in the evening when peace and quiet descend on the house. Maressa’s books are available from her website,, Amazon or local bookshops.

June Chaos

Summer Time

My dearest friend, Cindy, passed away in November. The loss of a high school best friend is never easy, and I miss her.

Best friends always knew you when you weren’t cool and possibly nerdy (inserts laughter), most importantly they loved you anyway.

the pages had a list of the things she enjoyed doing that made her happy.

So, I’m thinking about her list and my list of things we love to do and specifically during my favorite season, summer. No coats, carefree days, carnivals, beach days, eating the best summer foods, catching fireflies, picking strawberries, planning adventures and being spontaneous all in the same day.

Life goes by so quickly, make sure you are taking the time for your summer ‘must dos’ with your family and friends. I’m going to share our lists through pictures. I’d love to hear your favorite summer plans.

Several years prior to her passing, she gave me a journal in her own handwriting with friendship poems and stories and I recently found it in my hope chest. I’d put it there for safe keeping, as I loved it so much. What a thoughtful gift but rereading it this time was so much more than the first time,

I’m so grateful for this book in her handwriting and I know she carefully chose what stores to share with me about our friendship. One of


Tami C. Brown loves to have her camera ready to snap beauty wherever she goes. Her family and friends, affectionately known as the Queenies, are well prepared for random stops along the journey to have a photo op. She’s grateful for all photography opportunities and the adventures that come along with it.


Kindertransport Memorials- Stories Cast In Bronze

“It diminishes none of this if I say that the sun was never as bright, the light as penetrating or the vision so memorable, the sadness so terrible, as in those days, in those streets and houses, with those people who have all vanished forever.” Kinder transport child.

Kindertransport is the name given to the rescue mission that began nine months prior to the outbreak of World War II in which nearly 10,000 children were rescued from Nazi persecution. The children came from Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, Vienna, Prague and Danzig. They travelled mainly by train and boat and a few by plane. Parents packed practical and sentimental objects into a small suitcase for their child. Items included clothes, dolls, photographs, letters, but valuables such as jewellery and money were not permitted.

Children aged as young as five and up to the age of seventeen, travelled alone without parents and found refuge in foster homes, hostels and some with relatives. Older children were often absorbed into the country’s agricultural labour force and girls sometimes found themselves in domestic service. Treatment of the children in Great Britain varied, some entered very loving homes, while others received little sensitivity in terms of their social, cultural and emotional needs.

Since the late nineties and the turn of the century, a series of parallel and even competing memorials have appeared across Europe from two sculptors Flor Kent and Frank Meisler to commemorate the estimated 1.6 million children who were murdered in the Holocaust and those who were saved. Many

of the statues mark the departure points for these Kindertransports from cities such as Berlin, Hamburg, Vienna, Prague and Danzig (now called Gdansk).

Frank Meisler was himself a kinder child. His statues are interesting because they document the various staging posts of his own journey from Danzig in late August 1939 to England and to the safety of his grandmother’s home in London. Frank, aged 14, travelled from Danzig by train via Berlin, the Netherlands and then by ferry from the Hook of Holland to Harwich before reaching his final destination at London’s Liverpool Street Station. Three days after Frank left Danzig, his parents were arrested and deported to the Warsaw Ghetto before they were sent to Auschwitz.

Frank with his mother. (Picture credit the Frank Meisler Gallery)

Meisler’s first memorial is called ‘The Departure (2009),’ and was erected in front of the main Railway Station of Gdansk. It depicts the departure point for Jewish children to Britain. The route would have taken Frank through Berlin towards the Dutch border. Standing outside Friedrichstrasse Railway Station in Berlin is the second bronze entitled ‘Trains to Life, Trains to Death’ (2008). This commemorates the 1 6 million children murdered in the Holocaust.

In his book, ‘On the Vistula Facing East’, an autobiography published by Andre Deutsch, Frank Meisler records how an aunt waited on the Berlin platform to give all the children fruit before the train passed through the Dutch countryside. What for many had been an exciting and cheerful experience became a new reality. Frank wrote:

I had the uneasy sense, for the first time, that more might be involved in our departure than a temporary separation.” A night-ferry carried the children from the Hook of Holland to Harwich ready for the final leg of the journey.’

Channel Crossing to Life’ (2011) shows children awaiting embarkation from Holland to England to escape Nazi incarceration. The final leg of Frank’s journey terminated in a London station.

‘The Arrival’ memorial (2006) is situated just outside Liverpool Street Station in Hope Square was where many of the Kinder (children) from all over Europe met their foster parents and other officials and embarked on a new life. ‘The Arrival’ memorial shows three girls and two boys of various ages with their suitcases. The youngest child sits on one holding her toy. Around the edge of the plinth are small blocks inscribed with the cities from where the children came.

The memorial was installed in September 2006, and replaced Flor Kent's bronze Für Das Kind (For the Child), which was unveiled in 2003. This new statue was commissioned by World Jewish Relief and the Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR) and would later lead to a bitter controversy between Flor Kent and the WJR. In 2015, the last of Frank Meisler’s Kindertransport series was created. Entitled ‘The Final Parting’ it is located in Dag Hammarskjöld Platz – Dammtor Bahnhof Hamburg, Germany.

Flor Kent is the other prominent sculptor who has also contributed to the Kindertransport memorials. Born in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela, in 1961, she moved to London, where she gained a BA in Arts, and later a MA in Arts for Site-Specific Sculpture in Wimbledon School of Art. Her public art project "Für Das Kind" represented the conclusion of her MA studies. The original piece was located in Liverpool Street Station in 2003 and showed a girl standing next to a giant glass suitcase which contained an array of objects that the children brought with them including clothes, aprons, spectacles, toys and photographs all packed by their parents’ loving hands. The triple laminated glass case was specially made and filled with argon gas which neutralised any effects of UV light while keeping the objects in ideal conditions.

Channel Crossing to Life Hook of Holland Frank Meisler (Picture credit René & Peter van der Kroght )

The bronze figure of the girl cast by Flor Kent, was modelled by the seven-year old granddaughter of Eli Eberstarkova one of the original evacuees. The girl is dressed in contemporary clothes as would be other later models for her bronzes that Flor Kent made. Flor Kent tells me why she chose this approach for her figures and what she wanted to achieve:

“I didn’t dress them in 1930’s costumes. They represent the leaving, but they are alive today, and part of society...I didn’t want them to be over dramatic. I didn’t tell them how to look, I wanted them to be very natural.”

The original memorial was made in association with the Museum of London and the Imperial War Museum and supported by the Jewish Community and was a homage to the children saved from Nazi Germany that had made the faithful journey and who arrived safely at Liverpool Street Station.

Bad news was to follow when her work, Fur Das Kind (Liverpool street Station 2003) was to be dismantled and replaced with a the new work by Frank Meisler (The Arrival). The Museum of London had withdrawn its custodial support for Kent’s statue, claiming they could no longer cover the cost of curating the work in a period of recession. As a result, Flor Kent’s memorial was taken apart and put into storage by the World Jewish Relief (WJR). Controversy arose, as Flor Kent claimed to have the “intellectual, moral and property rights” to the work. Such was the acrimony between the two groups that a binding resolution was eventually sought through the Beth Din (a Hebrew House of Judgement) who ruled in favour of the WJR.

Not all was lost, the girl statue finally found a new home in the Holocaust Centre Beth Shalom Nottingham and later the WJR agreed to renounce any claim to Kent’s work. The transfer of the bronze girl to the ownership of the Holocaust centre involved no cost to the centre.

In 2008, another Fur Das Kinder memorial by Flor Kent was unveiled Westbahnhof Station, Vienna. It shows a boy sitting on a huge suitcase and was commissioned by Milli Segal. The boy, Sam Morris is the greatgrandson of Sara Schreiber. Sara Schreiber was saved by Rabbi Solomon Schönfeld, a very brave man who rescued more than four thousand children from the clutches of the Nazis.

The following year in 2009 another Flor Kent statue was unveiled of Nicholas Winton (sometimes referred to as the British Schindler) which shows Winton holding a small child and has a little girl walking beside him. It’s on platform 1a of Hlavni Nadrazi Station (Prague Central Station).

Nicholas Winton Prague station. (Picture credit Barbara Winton)

The young child is modelled on an iconic photographic of a child called Hansi Beck. His father survived the Holocaust only to find his young son had died tragically later in the war.

The final bronze in this series of Flor Kent’s work is entitled Fur Das Kinder Displaced (2011) and is found in the concourse of Liverpool Street Station. It is similar to the Vienna statue and shows a boy sitting on a suitcase but with a girl standing. This second opportunity, that came out of the blue, to display her work inside the station came as a complete surprise to Kent and provided some consolation for the loss of her original monument in 2003.

Other notable memorials by other people are to be found at Harwich and Maidenhead, Vienna Kindertransport Museum.

Most of the Kinder survived the war and some were even reunited with parents who had been in hiding or had endured the Nazi concentration camps. Reunions were not always happy as these children had changed, and were now faced by parents who themselves had endured horrific transformative experiences. For the majority, the stark reality was one in which home and family was now lost. Nevertheless, the story of the Kindertransport is one of hope that can exist even in the darkest times, even when the sun is never at its brightest.


If it's Not Impossible: The Life of Sir Nicholas Winton by Barbara Winton, Publisher: Troubador Publishing 2014

Statues Hither &Thither- René & Peter van der Krogt -

The Journey, Holocaust Centre, Laxton, Nottinghamshire,

The AJR Journal, the KT Newsletter, the Kindertransport survey (Making New Lives in Britain), available online via the AJR website:

Bertha Leverton (ed.), I Came Alone: The Stories of the Kindertransports (Brighton, 1996)

John Greeves originally hails from Lincolnshire. He believes in the power of poetry and writing to change people’s lives and the need for language to move and connect people to the modern world. Since retiring from Cardiff University, John Greeves works as a freelance journalist who's interested in an eclectic range of topics.


Kawartha Country Wines

We drove by it for years and didn’t stop. It was one of those things. On our way to the cottage, or on our way back from the cottage, we’d see it and always say, “Let’s stop there sometime.” Sometime never seemed to come, and we’d sail right past the intriguing little winery at the side of the road. Then, one day, we pulled in, and we’ve been stopping at the Kawartha Country Wines Estate since 2009 to enjoy the fruits of their labours. Unfortunately, the pandemic changed our schedule in 2020, so we haven’t visited the winery since 2019, but we’re looking forward to doing so again this summer (2023).

they source from local farms, including McLean Berry Farm (Lakefield, ON), Warner's Farm (Beamsville, ON), Allin's Orchard (Newcastle, ON), Lennox farms (Shelburne, ON), Grebenc Farms (Niagara, ON), and Deer Bay Farms (Selwyn, ON).

They have consistently won awards, and I gravitate to purchasing those wines that have won awards since we don’t get out there that often, and those wines have become my favourites. I prefer dry wines and find most fruit wines to be sweet, but I will have the sweeter ones as a dessert wine. My one complaint is that they are not organic, which I prefer.

Kawartha Country Wines in Buckhorn Offers Award-Winning Fruit Wines

Located on County Rd #36 in Buckhorn, Kawartha Country Wines sits in the heart of cottage country. They specialize in fruit wines made with fruit other than grapes. They grow a lot of the fruit themselves, and depending on the harvest, they will have wines based on apples, pears, raspberries, currents, and rhubarb. When they’re not using their own fruit,


Wine Tastings

If you are unsure of what you would like, especially if you’ve never had a wine that wasn’t grape based, you are welcome to sample what they have on hand. Wine tastings are complimentary, but you can also buy wine by the glass. Whoever is behind the bar will answer whatever questions you might have about the wines, winemaking, or anything else related to the estate.

With the variety of flavours available, it’s difficult to choose just one or two. We have usually come away with a variety of bottles. Since we only get out that way during the summer, we make sure we stock up for the winter when we pass by there at the end of the Thanksgiving long weekend. The winery itself is open yearround, seven days a week. The last time I asked, I was told that Christmas Day was the only exception.

Gift Shop Available

Besides the winemaking facility and the tasting room, Kawartha Country Wines has a gift shop filled with unique products, many using the fruits they grow themselves. I typically buy their jellies and jams when I’m there, though they offer so much more. They offer gourmet foods, barbeque, and other sauces, and even cheeses infused with their wines.

The building that houses everything is a restored log cabin that was built in 1866. I love wandering around in there and exploring what is new, to see if there is anything I can pick up and stash away for birthdays or Christmas.

If you are in the Buckhorn/Bobcaygeon area, pay a visit to Kawartha Country Wines, even if it’s a little out of your way. If you enjoy sampling unique wines, then you must try the wine they offer here. Perhaps I’ll see you there.

Reference - Kawartha Country Wines website (Accessed May 6, 2023)

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.

Images Courtesy of Bob Tobin


Summer Fun

When I first heard the theme for this month’s magazine was to be ‘summer fun’, I found myself transported back to school summer holidays and precious time spent with my children.

The eager anticipation that encapsulates a child in the final days of the school term is palpable, something I experienced first-hand while working in a school. Whether it was the older pupils saying their emotional farewells as they prepared to move on to high school or the younger years preparing to embrace week after week of summer fun, the feeling of impending freedom was intense.

And while classroom walls were being stripped bare, cupboards cleaned out, and teachers finalised a year with one class while also preparing for a new year with another, pupils spent the final days and hours playing games or, if the weather was kind, enjoying extra outdoor activities.

I was always just as eager for the school holidays as the pupils. Because while I embarked on my summer holiday, my children embarked on theirs. Once home, our chatter would fall quickly to the places we wanted to visit and people we wanted to see. Our to-do list formed without much effort.

Each year the list would begin the same. A day at the beach, a picnic at a local park where we would spend the day with bats, balls and frisbees. The adventure playground in a nearby town, followed by ice cream. And for longer days, both Stirling and Urquhart castles were always favoured by my children.

But the list quickly moved to walks in our local countryside, BBQs in the back garden, lazy mornings and afternoons with friends, baking, arts and crafts, and the simplicity of just being together.

We lived close to a river, and a dog walk with fishing nets and a picnic was often a weekly occurrence. We would play pooh sticks from the bridge, our dog would lollop in the water, and my children would catch minnows, keeping them in a bucket until it was time to go home. They would then count their haul before releasing them back into the river.

Our temperamental weather would often be the decider between late movie nights and long lies or summer walks and bike rides in the calming light of dusk. And as the weeks flew by, and we went shopping for new school uniforms and school bags, I was just as saddened as my children at the thought of our adventures coming to an end. But, just as our children’s education is invaluable, our memories are irreplaceable.

So, we must make the most of these times, treasure them and embrace them. Before long, our children grow up. They embark on their own lives and adventures, all built on the knowledge, courage, and life experiences they gained as children.

Now, my children are adults. And as they embark on their annual leave, we are at the top of their lists. We are amongst the people they want to visit. While summers still come and go, our lives go full circle, but that is fine. We are all part of one great adventure.

Pauline Tait is a prolific novelist and children’s author. Based in Perthshire, Scotland, she writes both suspenseful romance and children’s picture books for 3 to 7 years. With a background in Primary Literacy Support, Pauline is passionate in encouraging children in their own reading and writing.


Mouse’s Wood: A Year in Nature by Alice Melvin reviewed by Pauline Tait

And so, in Scotland, as we leave spring behind and move into summer, Kids Carousel is reviewing a stunning picture book that will walk your little ones through the seasons in a frenzy of glorious illustrations.

A page dedicated to the characters of the wood is an excellent addition, educating children on the woods native animals and explaining a little about where they live.

If, like me, you are a fan of whimsical illustrations full of the intricate details of the characters daily lives, then this is a picture book not to be missed. Think Beatrix Potter meets Wind in the Willows.

Mouse’s Wood: A Year in Nature

Written and illustrated by Alice Melvin

Published by Thames and Hudson Ltd For ages 3 years and up

With each page dedicated to a month of the year, Mouse’s Wood will walk children through the seasons in a cacophony of mesmerising illustrations and stunning poetic text that will captivate even the most reluctant readers.

While lifting flaps on each page make this an interactive read, the revelations and illustrated detail beneath are exquisite.

In conclusion, Mouse’s Wood is both delightfully told and one of the most beautifully illustrated books I’ve read. An utter joy!



The Spaniel of the Opera

During the lockdowns everybody got on the YouTube bandwagon. While he was stuck indoors my human became obsessed with one particular song from his favourite stage show. He is trying to learn the organ accompaniment, in the style of Eric Morecambe, but I can play it better than he can with two paws. I play by ear, obviously. He even believes he can sing. Tragically, he reckons he is improving but, trust me, he really isn’t. Now he is on the point of unleashing the video of his earwrenching performance on the underserving world.

I do my best to interfere by barking at the worst moments, but he thinks that just adds to the pathos of his rendition. You must help me stop him. Nobody needs to hear him howling, “The Spa a a a a a a a a a aniel of the Opera is here, inside your mind”!

Ever since I was a tiny puppy, my human daddy has sung songs to me. He never knows the right words and he still hasn’t worked out that I realise that the lyrics he makes up never make any sense at all. Ditties like “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Dog”; “Sing a song of spaniels, a pocket full of snacks”; “Woof, Woof, Spaniel, have you any fur?” Silly question! I can cope with the usual drivel. “Heads and shoulders, ears and paws, ears and paws. Fur and nose and teeth and claws”, even doing all the embarrassing actions. But now things have got completely out of paw.


His next project is recording a whole musical. “The hills are alive with the sound of spaniels.” “Woof every mountain.” “High on a hill sat a lonely hound-dog.” “Spaniel dog, Spaniel dog, every morning you greet me.” Don’t get me started on his catalogue of favourite things, although I do quite like the bit about whiskers on puppies.

I have no aspirations in the world of music. I have thrown my collar into the ring for the most prestigious role in cinema. In interests of equality, it is definitely time for white middle-aged men to stand aside so that a banoffee dog can become the next James Bond. It is the part I was born to play so they can rework the whole back catalogue. Goldspaniel. Goldenhound. The man with the golden

spaniel. You only bark twice. Spaniels are forever! Licence to howl. One spaniel is not enough. For your nose only. The spaniel who loved me. Live and let woof. Spaniel of solace.

I have a masterplan. Lassie once said that in order to succeed in show business a dog needs not only striking beauty and outstanding talent but also a certain ruthless streak. So, I am not pussyfooting around. Never underestimate cuddly. I have sent the producers my ultimatum. If I don’t get to be the hero, I am going to play the villain. Forget cute kitten pictures – unless I get the role, I will flood the interweb with every one of my human’s rehearsal videos of Spaniel of the Opera. Don’t think I won’t do it. The name’s Bond. Spaniel Bond.

Peter Thomas has published three non-fiction books and is delighted to assist Sophie in her creative writing projects. Peter retired in 2023 after 36 years as a Minister of local Baptist Churches - he was originally a teacher of chemistry and computing. He continues to add to his blog of more than a thousand sermons and reflections found at


Pauline, congratulations on the release of your new romantic suspense novel, Abigail Returns.

Firstly, can you tell us a little about yourself and your books?

Thank you, yes, I am a novelist and children’s author living in Perthshire, Scotland, with my husband and two dogs. Our children are older and have flown the nest, so I have more time to dedicate to my writing. I write both Romantic Suspense and children’s picture books for 3 to 7 years. So, I have found myself writing in two completely different genres, but both are a pleasure to write.

I used to work in Primary Literacy Support, and my children’s writing allows me to go back into schools through author visits to encourage our younger generations in their own reading and writing. Something I enjoy and is one of the perks to being an author. I do this with my children’s trilogy, The Fairy in the Kettle.

When I’m not writing, I'm usually walking our dogs or enjoying my other passion, photography. I would normally include gardening as a passion, but we have recently moved house, and the garden will have to be a project for this summer.

What inspired you to write this novel and why set it on the Isle of Skye?

In all honesty, it’s all down to the island. I have been visiting the Isle of Skye with my family, most years, for over twenty years, and I have a deep love for both the island and its people. It’s very much a home from home for me, and I always miss it when we return to the mainland.

I’m inspired while on the island, and it’s a different inspiration to living in beautiful Perthshire. I think it’s the constant proximity to the sea. The ebbing and flowing of the tide, the constant motion, the rhythm, as though it were the beating heart of life and our very existence. Whenever I’m there, I want to write, and I find the scenery on the island has my creative juices running on overload.

It's why I have chosen to set the location for Abigail Returns right by the sea. Lochside, is set on a fictional sea loch, but my inspiration for it comes from a location we have holidayed in, just a few miles South of Dunvegan. You look straight out over the North Atlantic, and apart from the Outer Hebrides, there is nothing until Canada. I love the remoteness of the area, but you never feel lonely. And that's down to the sense of community and the people. Many people there don’t know I write, so this series will be a surprise. I have purposely made the antagonists


within Abigail Returns incomers to the island, with the locals being homely, friendly and welcoming. As that is how we have found the islanders in the two decades we have been visiting. I describe Abigail Returns as a suspenseful mystery that is not short on romance.

Is Abigail Returns intended to be a first in series?

Yes, it is the first book in the Maren Bay Series, and I’m already a third of the way through the first draft of the second. All six books will be set on the island, but all will introduce new characters, and areas of the island that are favourites of mine, meaning each book will be a stand-alone read within the series.

In Scots, the word ‘Maren’ means ‘Star of the Sea’. But it can also mean bitter. So, quite fitting, I decided, for a suspenseful series set on an island.

What are you currently working on?

I’m working on the second book in the series, Anna’s Promise. It is set close to Lochside, the fictional location in Abigail Returns, but also brings in Staffin and the Quiraing. Staffin is one of my favourite places on the island, so it was inevitable that it would appear somewhere within the series. All six books will feature Portree, the main town on the island and integral to life on the island. More often than not, it’s where we stay when we are on the island, so I am enjoying bringing this location into the books too.

What two tips would you give someone wanting to write Romantic Suspense?

I think anyone wanting to write Romantic Suspense needs to give it a go. Each piece of work is only a draft, so is a craft that can be learned and honed. Just remember, the premise of Romantic Suspense is that the main character must find themselves in danger, either from a life-or-death situation or the threat of imminent danger. They must also have a love interest, and both the danger and love interest must be in equal measure. Both threads of the plot need to be as tantalising and as essential to the storyline as the other.

It's a genre that I find naturally fits my writing. For some reason I seem to need to put my characters in danger, but then they always come out the other end stronger and more confident. They are always the better for it.

Can you tell us a little about your writing process and your working day?

Yes, I’m definitely a planner. I need to have my plot arc worked out before I start writing. I also try to get as much of the research that’s required out of the way before I start writing too. That way, when I do start writing, I can just keep going.

But, on saying that, I do think it’s good to give your characters a little free reign. Once in the flow of writing, they can take you down unplanned paths and this can often enhance both the storyline and the character. It can often result in new characters entering the plotline, giving a scene or chapter more depth.


And lastly, where can we purchase Abigail Returns?

Abigail Returns is available worldwide in store and online. It’s also available for your lovely independent book shops to order too, allowing you to support local businesses.

Thank you for your time and for interviewing me for Mom’s Favorite Reads.

It has been a pleasure. Thank you for joining us, Pauline.

Find out more about Pauline and her books at:



Sheena Macleod lectured at the University of Dundee, where she gained her PhD. She now lives in a seaside town in Scotland. Reign of the Marionettes is her first novel. She mainly writes historical fiction and non-fiction. You can learn more about Sheena on her website:


New Release: Abigail Returns by


With just over a decade missing to Dissociative Amnesia, and a newly broken heart, Abigail finds herself with no choice but to return to Lochside. The supposedly idyllic home on the Isle of Skye she had fled so dramatically six years before.

And while struggling to find her way in a world she can’t recall, she must battle the conflicts of the present with the shocking secrets she uncovers from her past.

Jamie’s support is invaluable, but how much does he know? Greg is loving and attentive, but does he have an ulterior motive?

Meanwhile, the presence of a stranger on the island shakes Abigail to the very core. With no memory, she can only trust her instincts as she strives to build a life and a future she can call her own.

But Abigail soon discovers the stranger’s trail leads far too close to home.


This romantic suspense novel - released this month - takes place in the present day and is set on the idyllic Isle of Skye, Scotland. This is a story about new beginnings and second chances, and it held my attention from the first page right through to the last. I loved this book, and look forward to reading more in the series. The characters are well developed, and the setting so authentic I felt as if I was sitting out there on the jetty with Abigail. From the outset, I was rooting for Jamie.

Pauline Tait weaves the romance and suspense elements together in a way that keeps the reader guessing. The mystery drew me in from the very first page. The puzzle of Abigail’s memory loss and why she returned to a childhood home she hated is well plotted - right through to the dramatic and satisfying ending. This month’s Mom’s theme is ‘Summer Fun’. Abigail Returns would make for an ideal holiday read. This is one to pack in your suitcase.

I would highly recommend this book to readers of romantic suspense or to anyone who just enjoys a riveting good story.


Theme for June - Summer Fun

I don’t know if this is just me but my childhood summers always seemed to be long, hot, and endlessly sunny. I recall the trips to the beach, the ice creams, paddling pools in the back garden, lots of soft drinks, and so on. The highlight was always the family holiday. My family camped, first in tents, later in caravans.

So there are plenty of angles to take for your flash fiction piece for this final edition of Mom’s Favorite Reads. Think about what your character would consider to be summer fun. Think about why your character considers something fun. Are they hankering back to their childhood memories here? Are they right to do so?

Brigade annual camp. The Girls’ Brigade is a Christian based organisation. It was similar to the Guides but was more closely linked to the church.

Our brigade summer camps were usually held at a UK coastal resort and we stayed in church halls, using sleeping bags etc. We would be split into two teams and have different duties. One team would do the cleaning. Another would prepare meals. Then the following day the duties would be swapped around.

We spent most of the day itself on the beach and learned to work as teams (which is why we also had jobs to do). Plus there was all the fun of giggling and chatting long after “lights out”. Everyone did that! We lived for the tuck shop too.

We also prepared our own evening entertainment - singing, fancy dress competitions (the best one was with one girl who pretended she was a caterpillar. She just used her sleeping bag for that! We could only use what we had to hand).

So think about summer camping experiences. Could your characters tell their stories about the fun they had here or did they loathe every minute and have to pretend they were having fun because they didn’t want to let anyone else down?

You could write a flash piece showing a character and a special childhood summer which impacted them. I take this approach with my flash tale below.

One of the highlights of my summers way back when was when I went on the Girls’

Of course summer isn’t fun for all. Not everyone copes well with the higher temperatures, soaring pollen counts etc. So could your character’s story be about how they did manage to have summer fun despite that?

As ever, you have 300 words, and I look forward to reading your stories. It has been a joy to write for Mom’s Favorite Reads and to read your stories. Let’s make the last lot special!


My Special Summer

This summer will be different. I won’t be left behind again. They tease because I read, write, and draw. I had to do what they did. They said I was a nerd and a baby. So I learned and not just basics. When we go out this summer, they’ll see I’m not a baby this summer.

What did I do? I learned to swim. Now I swim like a fish. Last year I was like a brick. They laughed. I cried. And I’ve got a pretty costume. It’s purple with mermaids on it. ***

It didn’t work. I swam. They liked my costume. They said I’d done well.

But they’d given up swimming. It was so last year, they said. The thing for this year was to walk for miles on the beach and see how far you could get before having to come back. It’d be safe, they said. There were help points everywhere. That, to be fair, is true. They did ever so well. I made it halfway. They forgot I’m younger and shorter. I couldn’t keep up. ***

This summer has been brilliant. I’ve swum. I’ve walked. I’ve gone camping with the family. And I’ve forgotten them - okay, almost forgotten. They’ve been asking to see me. I suppose they’ve missed having a kid hanging on their every word, wanting to be them.

I won some competitions this summer. One of my drawings won second prize. My mermaid story won first prize. Both were in our local newspaper. Everyone sees that here.

I also had cash prizes, enough to get my next swimming costume, and arty stuff. You should have seen their faces when they saw me spending my money and I told them where it came from. That was fun!

Allison Symes is published by Chapeltown Books, CafeLit, and Bridge House Publishing. She is author of the flash fiction collections- Tripping The Flash Fantastic and From Light to Dark and Back Again. Find her story videos, at channel/UCPCiePD4p_vWp4bz2d80SJA/ Allison blogs for online magazine, Chandler’s Ford Today. Her weekly column can be found at She also blogs for Authors Electric and More Than Writers, the blog spot for the Association of Christian Writers.


and Sun

Squinting down to the sand, Marilyn watched two of her grandchildren valiantly building a complex castle, complete with a moat, towers, and defenses against the incoming tide. Her daughter was splashing in the shallows with little Bethany; her son racing young Adrian to rescue the coloured beachball as it bobbed on the waves.

Marilyn closed her eyes, luxuriating on the warm towel, allowing the rhythm of the summer waves to lull her into a state of semi-slumber.

Drifting between sleep and wakefulness, daydream and memory mixed in a tableau of pleasure from yesteryear: rock pools and icecream, picnics and gritty sandwiches, fresh breezes and fields of ripe corn. She was laughing with old friends again; tumbling through pastures with her sun-kissed siblings: milking cows; stacking bales of fresh straw; stooking sheaves harvested the old way, ready for the thatchers; striding through fields of buttercups; farmhouse teas, and stretching her legs to reach the pedals of the battered tractor. Images piled on one another, flicking in front of her eyelids in a celebratory dance.

A stone digging into her thigh brought her abruptly back to the present.

Hugging her knees to her chest, she wondered whether she had given her own children the childhood they deserved. She had so wanted them to know the carefree days she had enjoyed herself. The realization that none of us can duplicate our experiences for those we love had felt like a bereavement; a grief that had no resting place. Marilyn wasn’t one for recriminations, and gently reminded herself that she had always sought to do her best by them.

Here, on the beach amongst the holiday makers, the echoes of her own treasured memories gave way to yells of delight as her family made memories of their own.

Jenny Sanders is a writer, speaker, encourager and mentor. She loves writing, reading and walking in nature whenever she can. For the past several years she’s lived between the beautiful cities of Bath, UK and Cape Town, S Africa. Her exciting and humorous new children’s book The Magnificent Moustache and Other Stories is now available published by The Conrad Press.


The Clubhouse

Robert looked forward to summer days where he could play all day with his three best friends. The young boys spent most of their free time inside their treehouse. No girls were allowed; no exceptions!

That is, until Robert became seriously ill and befriended a girl his age at the hospital. Meagan truly understood him and made him laugh. Having spent most of their summer away from their usual friends, the two sick kids became inseparable.

When Robert found out Meagan was dying, he became inconsolable. His other friends took pity on him and voted to break the “no girls” rule. They invited Meagan to the clubhouse before the start of the school year. To their surprise, the boys discovered a girl could actually be cool.

Meagan didn’t care about getting muddy, nor freak out at the sight of insects or spiders. She loved playing sports, doing messy science experiments, and reading comic books. It didn’t take long for Robert’s friends to get attached and treat her like one of them. They even encouraged Meagan to carve her name next to theirs, on the sacred wooden wall where they also carved FRIENDS FOR EVER. One night, they all slept in the clubhouse and told each other ghost stories. Meagan came up with the best ones.

When Meagan passed away, the boys were devastated. They made a tearful pact to keep her memory alive. They tried inventing ghost stories about her, but felt she had to be a friendly ghost and it wasn’t spooky. It made them miss her storytelling.

The boys eventually decided to keep a notebook in the clubhouse so they could share their fun with her. They even included secrets. When Robert died of his cancer a year later, the boys kept the notebook for him too.

Chantal Bellehumeur is a Canadian author. She has several published novels of various genres as well as short stories, poems and articles featured in compilation books, magazines, plus a local newspaper. For a complete list of publications, including free reads, visit:



Words Matter

Last month in my column I talked about pushing the boundaries of your creativity. This month I would like to talk about the words you use in order to do so. There are two words used for those who love words – logophile or lexiphile.

As a lover of words, myself, I love them both. This brings me to the first point I would like to make. Using the same word too many times becomes distracting and pulls the reader from the narrative. My overuse of the word love and lover was deliberate in this instance but reading it over it sets my teeth on edge. So, my first tip is to consider overuse of a certain word and look at ways you can shake it up by using a thesaurus (another great word). This will make you sound articulate – the word for someone who is good with words.

However, - isn’t there always a however? –don’t use big words just to show you know them. Again, whilst you don’t want to treat your reader like an idiot, if they have to stop every few words in order to look them up, most readers will not continue. When writing you should always have your ideal reader in mind. Use words and language which will appeal to them.

Then, you need to consider your characters, especially during dialogue. What words would they use? Would they use different words in different circumstances, such as a cop who is undercover versus when they are at home with their kids? Your detectives might use different language when running a high-level operation or talking to a gang member.

A good way to use words is to mix things up. You can do this by being unexpected – a cleaner who has a PhD in English and has a cut crystal accent is not what you usually expect. Hey, I’m going to use that in a book, so no poaching.

When writing, use your words to intrigue, inform, educate, entertain and bring about surprises. Enjoy using them as much as I do and have fun in the process. And that is, quite literally my final word on this for Mom’s Favorite Reads. However, keep an eye out for Writers’ Narrative, a new monthly magazine, the first issue of which will be out in August – it will be jam-packed with advice for writers.


EditorinChief/ExecutiveEditor WendyH.Jones

WendyH.Jones,EditorinChief,/ExecutiveEditorisalsoourFeatureEditorandworkshardtoprovidecontentthatisinteresting,informativeandprofessional. She’stheawardwinning,internationalbest-sellingauthoroftheDIShonaMcKenzieMysteries,CassClaymoreInvestigatesMysteries,FergusandFloraMysteries,BertietheBuffalochildren’sbooksand theWritingMattersbooksforwriters.SheisalsoawritingandmarketingcoachandformerPresidentoftheScottishAssociationofWriters. YoucanlearnmoreaboutWendyonherwebsite:

DeputyEditor&ArtDirector—Sheena Macleod

OurDeputyEditor coordinatestheproductionschedule. Sheadministerstheday-to-dayoperationsofthepublicationand organizeseacheditionofthemagazine.Shealsoworkshardtocreatenewcoverseachmonththatcapturestheessence ofeachpublication. SheenaMacleod Historicalfactandfictionwriter-lecturedattheUniversityofDundee,whereshe gainedherPhD.SheistheauthorofReignoftheMarionettes,TearsofStrathnaverandWomenofCourage AForgottenFigure FrancesConnelly.

GraphicDesigner EileenRolland

TheGraphicDesignerisresponsiblefordevelopingthelayoutofMFReMagazine. Eileenisresponsibleforthegraphics thatappearthroughoutthepublicationeachmonth. Sheworkshardtoensuretheimagescapturethespiritandmessage ourauthor'sconveyintheirarticles.Eileenwritesmainlycontemporarywomen’sfiction.Herworksincludethe Chrysalis TrilogyandIsleof Somewhere.


Paulinemanagesoursubmissionsandsetsrealisticschedules.eachShe is a prolific novelist and children’s author. Based in Scotland, she writes both suspenseful romance and children’s picture books for 3 to 7 years. With a background in Primary Literacy Support, Pauline is passionate in encouraging children in their own reading and writing.


Allison Symes works diligently each month to generate flash fiction writing prompts that will stimulate creativity in our authorsandentertainourreaders.AsStoryEditor,shealsoensureseachentryisprofessionalandpolished.Allison Symes is an award winning, published flash fiction and short story writer. She also writes a weekly column on topics of interest for writers for online magazine, Chandler's Ford Today. Allison's fiction has appeared in anthologies (CafeLit and Bridge House Publishing) over many years. Allison judges competitions, runs workshops, and is always happy to talk/write about flash fiction writing. https://

Copy Editors—Wendy H. Jones & Sheena Macleod




OurMarketingDirector,MaressaMortimer,overseesmarketingcampaignsandsocialmediaengagementforourmagazine. ShemanagesMom’sFacebook and Instagram pages. Maressa is the author of the Elabi Chronicles, Burrowed and Saphire Beach.

Our Content Writers arefreelanceauthorswhocontributearticles,shortstories,etc.totheeMagazineonaregularbasis. Theyworkhardtomakeourmagazineinterestingandprofessional.


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pages 58-60

The Clubhouse

page 57

Theme for June - Summer Fun

pages 54-56

New Release: Abigail Returns by

pages 53-54


pages 48-52


pages 46-47

Kawartha Country Wines

pages 44-45

Kindertransport Memorials- Stories Cast In Bronze

pages 40-43

Summer Time

pages 37-39

Rainy Days and Summer Holidays

pages 34-36

In the Footsteps of Ernest Hemingway

pages 30-33

Traditional English Summer Holiday

pages 28-29

The Lost Airfields of Angus

page 27

Margaret. G. Bowman Author of The Lost Airfields of Angus

pages 24-26


page 23

Joyce in Summer

pages 20-22

Seasonal Crystal Grids

page 19

The Israel Trail

pages 16-18

Illustrated Tales of Warwickshire

page 15

Paranormal Warwickshire

page 14

S. C. Skillman

pages 10-13


pages 8-9


pages 58-60

The Clubhouse

page 57

Theme for June - Summer Fun

pages 54-56

New Release: Abigail Returns by

pages 53-54


pages 48-52


pages 46-47

Kawartha Country Wines

pages 44-45

Kindertransport Memorials- Stories Cast In Bronze

pages 40-43

Summer Time

pages 37-39

Rainy Days and Summer Holidays

pages 34-36

In the Footsteps of Ernest Hemingway

pages 30-33

Traditional English Summer Holiday

pages 28-29

The Lost Airfields of Angus

page 27

Margaret. G. Bowman Author of The Lost Airfields of Angus

pages 24-26


page 23

Joyce in Summer

pages 20-22

Seasonal Crystal Grids

page 19

The Israel Trail

pages 16-18

Illustrated Tales of Warwickshire

page 15

Paranormal Warwickshire

page 14

S. C. Skillman

pages 10-13


pages 8-9
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