My online pet hate

On this the last day of 2020, I’m sitting here cogitating over the gross misuse of my online pet hate – the ‘Like Button’. Just because sites such as Facebook make it available does not mean that we should blindly click it every time something is posted – in particular when we are offered something to read. Using it to like a photograph is one thing.  But I would argue that a post of a literary nature should first be read and then commented on, if and only if you enjoyed reading the content of the post. Then and only then should you click ‘Like’!

Several people I have spoken to on the subject make the excuse that by clicking the ‘Like Button’ for a literary post, they are showing the author of the post their appreciation. WHAT UTTER POPPYCOCK!

Sharing your thoughts as a comment is showing your appreciation!!!

They justify their lazyness by saying that they refrain from commenting because they have nothing to say. Why? If you read it, surely to god you must have an opinion!! Is it any wonder that books are not being reviewed, let alone read these days, except by writers? I think not don’t you?

Perhaps Facebook should also include a ‘Dislike Button’ to give us a second choice? No thank you!

Thank god there are only a few hours before 2021 begins. My best to all of you for the new year…


The Things I Have Learnt this Year. Part 1.The Digital Generation.

What a year!!!


I’ve decided to skip the Christmas posting this year,  as I have not much to celebrate or to say about the topic. Yet, the end of the year, and such a year, is the appropriate moment to stop – it shouldn’t be difficult during lockdown – and ponder on what we have learnt or understood, as desperate times are often so very revealing and the naked truths might be unexpected or even shocking.

I’d like to start with what is generally called the digital generation, that is the generation of those who, according to common belief, were already able to understand the know-how behind any digital device since breastfeeding. Those, whose thumbs slide fast on a phone screen and sneer at you if they catch you “hammering” a text with your index, making you feel an old, pitiful idiot. Those who live constantly connected with their smartphone stuck in the…

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Chapter Fifty-Four

Another chapter for your delectation…

Have We Had Help?


Chapter Fifty-Four – Marsaxlokk

Max’ journey was full of hazards. He had to backtrack many times on his exploration of the tunnel system. Several times, he had nearly died from falls near rivers of lava, and other unseen traps. As he marked the safe route along the way, he discovered ruined ancient stone circles and old roads from another time, buried beneath the ocean floor. It was one of the latter which finally led him back to the surface.


Nearly three weeks after they returned to the depths below the island, and on the last night before they reached the safety of the landmass, Max and his young companions made camp inside the last of the stone Neolithic temples hidden beneath the seabed. Its ancient circle of megaliths, topped with horizontal stones, witnessed many strange sacrificial ceremonies over the seven thousand years since they were first dragged to their…

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Funny what sticks in your mind

Jim wants a word…

Jim Webster

I remember the lyrics,

“All good things around us,

Are paid for by the bank,

So don’t forget, oh don’t forget, the manager to thank.”

I read them in a copy of Farmer and Stockbreeder many years ago. A farmer’s wife had sent them in as suggested new words to ‘We plough the fields and scatter’ which were more appropriate to the industry of the day.

Another strange thing that sticks in my mind are two lines from a song written for the satirical radio show, Weekending. It was a spoof lament, supposedly sung by the Scottish football manager after the team’s performance in the 1978 world cup. The only bit I can remember is

‘Willy Johnston’s like a lark

He’s high and on the wing.”

There again, I do occasionally remember stuff which might be useful. One is a comment made by John Cherrington, farmer, agricultural journalist and broadcaster…

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Book Reviews, How Important Are They?

Readers – write those reviews!!!

Have We Had Help?


The short answer is that without good, bad and indifferent reviews, books simply don’t sell, doubly so these days since the concept of the electronic book became reality.

Not too many decades ago, before the coming of the internet, when books were written by a handful of establishment writers under contract to traditional publishing houses, reviews were the domain of a few individuals employed by newspapers like the New York Times and leading magazines such as Time. They were often critical, sometimes praiseworthy, but never vicious like the one star variety most writers are subjected to today.

How times have changed. These days literally anyone can write a review for any book they find on any given internet book site. There lies the problem. No matter whether you are an Indie, or under contract to a publisher, we are all equally at risk of being attacked by a vocal minority…

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Podcast Parade

More news from our Greek correspondent…

Letters from Athens

There are so many hours one can spend on a screen, and now that we’re facing another few months of restricted outings, listening to podcasts is a very pleasant way of getting immersed in different worlds. I’m an obsessive bookworm, but it’s nice to have something to listen to while cutting up veggies or ironing. A human voice: it’s almost like company, when you’re alone; and it’s different to music.

I’ve listened to a lot of audiobooks, and that’s lovely as well, especially when read by someone with a voice that suits the subject; but podcasts are short, and you don’t constantly have to remember who the characters are.

There are millions out there, of course, but here’s a list of some I recommend:

For crime aficionados, whether writers or readers, Listening to the Dead podcast features crime writer Lynda La Plante and CSI Cass Sutherland. They discuss, in fascinating…

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Chapter Fifty-Three

Happy Christmas everyone xxx

Have We Had Help?


Chapter Fifty-Three – Subterranean Journey

The sound of hunting horns announcing their escape drifted up to where they stood at the edge of the outer crater. Far below, they could see an armed party of berserkers led by Meral, following their footprints in the loose scoria. Talia turned and led the way down the gentle slope to the floor of the old crater. Using outcrops of old lava to disguise their path, they carefully picked their way across the folded black rock towards the inner crater rim. The ground beneath their feet trembled constantly from mini-quakes that signalled the violence deep inside the volcano.

Talia led them around to the opposite side of the active crater and over to the south western edge of the outer rim. “We can hide in those old lava tunnels up there. All we have to do is climb up and enter through that crack,”…

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The Waters of Life

A little something from our Sue xx

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

18th Dynasty funerary mask, Louvre18th Dynasty funerary mask, Louvre

“We, like the earth, arose from the Waters of Chaos. A point of Becoming in the potential that Became. It was all there… everything that is, was and will be… all that might be… in that single moment; complete, yet eternally unfolding.

Before we were, there was only Nun, the Inert One. A current of possibility arose in the watery abyss of sentient potential, born perhaps of awareness, and a bubble was formed in the nothingness that was All.

Our children remembered, somewhere deep in their being and, not understanding what they knew, they looked at their world and found parallels in their landscape of flood and desert. They told how the first land had arisen as a sacred mountain from the waters. Some said that upon that land a Child had been brought into being, others told of a flower, or a bird, but…

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Chapter Fifty-Two

Anyone want to escape from Meral?

Have We Had Help?


Chapter Fifty-Two – A Narrow Escape

The camp slowly stirred as the warmth of the rising sun of late summer added to the uncomfortable heat in the pit coming from the depths of the volcano. The selection began when the men were brought out of the pit and driven at sword point to the square at the centre of the camp. Meral sat on her throne on the raised veranda of her living quarters with her feet resting on Shaila’s naked back, where she lay face down, secured by the chain and cruel collar. She gave a signal for the men to be dragged before her one at a time. Each berserker male was stripped by the guards and presented for inspection. If  they were worthy to become breeding stock, they were led away to the iron pen on the far side of the square, opposite Meral’s quarters. If not…

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Some Rare Praise For WordPress

Is WordPress loosing to the man from Beetley in Norfolk?


As most of you will know by now, I rarely have anything good to say about WordPress. Whether it is the fact that they will not be retaining the Classic Editor soon, or the endless glitches that fling our comments into Spam Folders, the host company of our blogs has received the sharp end of my keyboard on more occasions than I care to remember.

However, credit where it’s due.

This morning, I received conflicting communications about the renewal of my paid ‘Personal Plan’. One message said I had to renew it, and another told me it had been automatically renewed, supplying me with a confirmation invoice number to prove that.

So I used the ‘Live Chat’ system to query the confusion.

They replied instantly. I typed out my question, and received a reply resolving the issue in less than sixty seconds. I know this is not available to anyone…

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