Content in this category can be on various subjects of different types, unrelated to writing, but of interest to Jan.
Don’t worry there are more than enough to satisfy your appetites but thank you to all those who have bought “Part of The Family” online on its publication date Friday 16th December.
Apologies to those whom we could not supply free copies to. We wanted to hand out books to those who are mentioned in the book in order to say thank you. Jan, however is willing to sign copies to anyone who wants to buy a copy through Amazon, Waterstones, Barnes & Noble etc. If you send us a message I will let you have our address.
AND THANK YOU AGAIN. Just remember to share on your social media outlets. That is the way to spread the message that we need more foster carers to look after the many children who need care. Things are a lot worse post COVID than beforehand.
Jan and I are even more delighted that Picture Book, the Leek Bookshop, has agreed to be a stockist for “Part of the Family” by Jan Garsden. Jan is doing a delivery today ready for publication tomorrow.
It is only £8.99, professionally edited by Austin MaCauley, makes you laugh, cry, and angry in equal measure. It has this effect upon me after at least 20 reads, so it would make an ideal stocking filler for you at Christmas time.
You can read an excerpt from the first chapter “Tommy” online to test out my sales boast.
I didn’t wear a sparkly satin dress, a bejewelled tiara or carry a magic wand , but today I was the “fairy rock mother”.
Let me explain. For many years I’ve spent hours painting rocks, or should I say beautiful, rounded pebbles collected from Sandy beach on Anglesey. In the past, when we’ve had a caravan-full of foster children, interspersed with some of our own kids, we would often while away the time on rainy days collecting pebbles from the beach. Upon our return to the caravan we would break out the acrylic paints and brushes and paint interesting designs on the rocks. Well, not all of them were interesting, some were just smudges of colour, applied in an impatient mess, but it kept us all entertained for a while.
Now that we have retired from fostering children I sometimes paint stones with my two grandchildren, Ellie who is 5 and Phoebe who is 4. I even go solo and paint stones on rainy days at the caravan when there are no children around. I sometimes just enjoy being creative. I have built up quite a store of painted rocks, some are simple hearts, smiley faces or happy “emoji” faces. Others are more intricate designs, such as ladybirds, cats and tortoises. Ellie and Phoebe always want to see the newest stones when they come to visit.
So today I loaded up my rucksack and set off for “Penrhos Park” in Anglesey. It’s a beautiful wooded area with winding paths and tracks, some leading down to a secluded beach. I wore my raincoat and walking shoes and spent about an hour wandering through the trees placing “rock presents” as I went. At one point I had to hurry past a family with young children so that I could get ahead of them and place stones before they saw me. I usually put them in the boughs of trees, on top of fences, in the cracks between dry stone walls and in the exposed roots of trees. Today I could hear the delighted shrieks of kids who’d discovered the newly placed pebbles just behind me. I smiled as I went about my task, knowing that some kids were enjoying the game, nearly as much as me. Usually, when people find the stones they post them on “Facebook” and comment on where and when they found them, there is a group named “Anglesey rocks“. Today I was even lucky enough today to see two red squirrels, a wonderful sight, as one ran directly across my path.
Of course don’t go assuming that I do this activity for the sake of children, no, no, no. I do it because I need to beat my team-mates in my “Fitbit” group. We usually have a “workweek challenge”, and we have to try to accomplish more steps than the rest of the group in order to win. The others in the group are at least 30 years younger than me, and they have busy jobs. I struggle to match their steps every day, so I have to be inventive. Walking around the woods, or on the beach keeps me in the game, even though I usually lose when the results are in at the end of the week.
So, I need to go now, I have a new batch of pebbles to paint, and I need to dust off my tiara. My pink sparkly dress and festooned wand are waiting, and upon saying the magic word I will be transformed, once more, into the “Fairy rock mother’. Bye for now.
Today I spent a nice few hours with my lovely 84 year old mum. I don’t normally visit her on a Sunday but she’s incapacitated at the moment due to a sore ankle. She had a fall at home about a week ago and although there are no broken bones she has been fitted with a special “boot” and has been told to rest the leg for about 6 weeks.
We went out for a nice lunch, just to have a change of scenery, and we then went on to visit mum’s friends Anne in her care home. Mum was concerned that she couldn’t get the bus to visit Anne because she was a bit “wobbly” on her feet.
Upon our return to mum’s house I put the kettle on and we sat down to tea and a chocolate digestive biscuit. Mum reminded me that as a child I always asked for a chocolate biscuit when I wasn’t feeling very well, and it usually worked. I invariably felt better after a couple of chocolate digestives, and my mum has never forgotten the fact. I suggested that maybe the clue was in the biscuit’s name, and the digestive probably settled my tummy.
I then suggested that maybe all ailments were curable with different biscuits, and we began to explore all the names of the biscuits we knew and what problems they might cure. I immediately pointed at her swollen ankle and said “Hob Nobs”, or maybe a “Club”biscuit.
So, here is the list of biscuits we laughed about;
“Garibaldi” – thinning hair.
“Bourbon” – alcoholism.
“Jammie Dodgers” – menopause.
“Choc chip cookies” – personality disorders.
“Nice” – anger management issues.
“Chocolate Fingers” – diarrhoea.
“Jaffa cakes” – false tan issues.
“Custard Creams” – wrinkles.
“Table Water Biscuits” – cystitis.
“Viscount” – posh people.
“Shortbread” – poor people.
“Penguin” – double hip replacement.
“Taxi” – reluctant driver.
“Ginger Nuts” – sunburn.
“Rich Tea” – wealthy people.
I think we did ok with our list, but of course you may be able to think of many more. It was a good day all round, mum fed, watered and cheered up. Job done.
Glossy, shiny full of crap
They’re on the shelves, the woman trap
Luring us with shocking tales
Celebrity stories in great detail
“How to”guides- like shedding pounds
Advice on marriage knows no bounds
Recipes for leftover meat
Make curry for a midweek treat
They patronise like we are thick
The smartass comments make me sick
They tell us how to run our lives
By making us be better wives
They teach us how to fake a tan
Put hair up in a messy bun
A bikini body in just 6 weeks
Sun kissed hair not using bleach
How to wear the latest fashion
Your comfy look will take a bashing
Photographs of stupid styles
Your other half would run a mile
Exaggerated killer heels
To us OAP’s they’ve no appeal
Advice they give on keeping fit
Patterns for cardi’s you could knit
Why not make a summer dress?
Ideas to make you bloody stressed
The agony aunts use many pages
About our marriage and how to save it
How to act when he has strayed
If he came back I’d have him spayed
‘Cos castration doesn’t fit this rhyme
But that would be his fate next time
And ‘cos you’re living in a mess
A “how to get the look” , for less
Make jam jars into something cool
And you have a go, you silly fool
Make clever stuff with chicken wire
For friends and Neighbours to admire
Get busy with the pinking shears
Banish all your sewing fears
They tell us we must all de-clutter
And you try, like other nutters
And when it comes to making cakes
You can’t admit you’ve never baked
It won’t look like their spongy trinkets
Yours resembles doggy biscuits
And yet we keep on buying more
Or free ones drop in through your door
But now you know you aren’t alone
It’s all right there in “Woman’s Own”