Hello and welcome to my July 2024 Newsletter.

I was looking back on my newsletter for July 2023, and I commented that now we are past the longest day, the nights are pulling in, and the weather seems more like October than July – and it seems this year is going much the same way. We’ve had a few nice days, but there still seems to be a chilly wind, and it’s generally not that warm. I have my fingers crossed, and there will be some hot sunny days soon.

However, the vegetables in the garden are doing well, so that’s something. A couple of years ago, we removed our old greenhouse when it was badly damaged in the storms, and we filled the base with topsoil to make it into a raised bed. This is now our vegetable patch, where we planted eight potatoes, short rows of peas and broad beans, rocket, and runner beans. The potatoes were a new variety for us – Duke of York – and they were delicious, but now, sadly, all gone. The peas and beans are also cropping well, and the runner beans are flowering. The lupins are looking good, too – as you can see from the photo.

We recently visited my sister in Farnham and stayed a few days. Gill is the eldest in the family, and I’m the youngest, and inevitably, we were reminiscing about this and that. Somehow, we got on to old songs, and there was one I couldn’t quite remember apart from one line – It stopped short, never to go again, when the old man died. Gill knew the one I meant and said it was My Grandfather’s Clock. The song is about a grandfather clock purchased on the morning of his birth. It worked perfectly for ninety years, needing only to be wound at the end of each week. Near the old man’s death, it rang an alarm, and his family realised this meant the old man was near death and gathered by his bedside. After his death, the clock suddenly stopped and never worked again. We had to listen to the song again, of course, so we found it on YouTube and enjoyed it once more:

My Grandfather’s Clock

My grandfather’s clock was too large for the shelf
So it stood ninety years on the floor
It was taller by half than the old man himself
Though it weighed not a pennyweight more

It was bought on the morn’ of the day that he was born
And was always his treasure and pride
But it stopped, short never to go again
When the old man died

Ninety years without slumbering
His life seconds numbering
It stopped, short never to go again
When the old man died

My grandfather said that of those he could hire
Not a servant so faithful he found
For it wasted no time and had but one desire
At the close of each week to be wound

And it kept in its place, not a frown upon its face
And its hands never hung by its side
But it stopped short, never to go again
When the old man died

It rang and alarmed in the dead of the night
An alarm that for years had been dumb
And we knew that his spirit was pluming for flight
That his hour for departure had come

Still the clock kept the time with a soft and muffled chime
As we silently stood by his side
But it stopped short, never to go again
When the old man died

Ninety years without slumbering
His life seconds numbering
It stopped short, never to go again
When the old man died

In finding it on the internet, I discovered that the song was first written by Henry Clay Work, an American,  in 1875 when he visited a hotel and wrote the song based on tales about the clock from the locals. It was first recorded in 1905 by the Edison Quartet, but as I am not quite that old, I’m sure the version I remember is by Johnny Cash and was released in 1959. I’ll bet some of you will be singing that song in your head for the rest of the day!

Old Saying of the Month

I’m sure we’ve all been sent on a wild goose chase at some point in our lives but I wonder, do you know how the saying came about? 

Wild Goose Chase
Nowadays we all know the saying someone is on a wild goose chase, to mean they are searching for something they have little chance of finding. However, the phrase is ancient and used to refer to horse racing rather than hunting. The first recorded known quotation is from William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet in 1592:
Romeo: Switch and spurs, switch and spurs; or I’ll cry a match.
Mercutio: Nay, if thy wits run the wild-goose chase, I have done, for thou hast more of the wild-goose in one of thy wits than, I am sure, I have in my whole five.
Geese are known to be defensive and territorial birds, making it unwise to chase them. In Shakespeare’s day, a wild goose chase was a race in which horses followed a lead horse at a set distance, mimicking wild geese flying in formation.

My Writing News

Book 6 – A Woman Scorned

I think I told you last month that I had finished writing my sixth book – hoorah! For an author, there is nothing quite like the magical moment when you type The End! I’m now working my way through editing and proofreading to tidy it as much as possible before sending it to a trusty friend of mine to edit, something she is an expert in. I will then circulate it to a few readers to get their opinions and feedback before publishing it later in the year. My sister, Gill, read it whilst I was staying with her and enjoyed it. I knew she would be honest if she didn’t, and I was pleased that it kept her up way past her bedtime!

The Mazzard Tree

I’m grateful to my daughter-in-law, Laura, for producing a new cover for The Mazzard Tree, which I think fits in well with the other books. I’ve had it in mind to replace this cover for some time as I didn’t feel it was quite as interesting as the others. Anyway, here it is, so I hope you like it. You can find it here: http://mybook.to/TheMazzardTree

This Month’s Bargain

The Rabbit’s Foot ebook will be reduced to 99p from 18 – 25 July, so if you haven’t read this one yet, now might be a good time. As always, I’d be so grateful for a review – even if it’s just how many stars you think it is worth. You can find it here: http://mybook.to/TheRabbitsFoot.

A New Release by Pam Lecky

It’s my pleasure to tell you about a new release from talented author Pam Lecky. Her new book, Under a Lightning Sky, is a WW2 murder mystery that will be published on July 4, 2024.

Here’s a bit about the book:

London is under attack. But within the rubble, a greater danger lurks… The Luftwaffe has been bombing London continuously since September 1940. During a bombing raid, Madeline Fairfax is caught in her kitchen whilst cooking for her husband and children. She becomes trapped in the rear of her home but regains consciousness just in time to see a familiar face, offering hope of rescue. But instead, Madeline is tragically strangled to death. As a dangerous murderer uses the Blitz to cover their crime, local detective Jamie Barton enlists the help of Madeline’s sister and volunteer firefighter Penny Fairfax to help. Now, caught in a web of uncertainty and mistrust, a grieving Penny must find the truth and do whatever it takes to protect those she loves most. Together, will they unravel this case before it’s too late…?

Buy Link: https://MyBook.to/UALSky

I’ve read and enjoyed a couple of Pam’s books and will be adding this one to my to-be-read list.

My Book of the Month

War in the Valleys by Francesca Capaldi

Whilst World War 1 wages on, Violet is busy caring for her children, Clarice and Benjy, in the Rhymney Valley in Wales while her husband, Charlie, fights on the Front Line. When tragedy strikes, Charlie’s mother, Olwen, comes to stay with Violet to help out over Christmas but ends up staying indefinitely.

Violet appreciates Olwen’s help in looking after the children to allow her to go out to work but finds her mother-in-law controlling and hard to live with, and she becomes estranged from her friends.

I struggled a bit with the Welsh words in this book, but thoroughly enjoyed the story. A well-written and heartwarming family saga.

You can find the book here: War in the Valleys

Well, that’s all for now. Thank you for continuing to follow me, and until next time, I hope you stay safe and well.

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