Saturday, 23 November 2013

Someday At Christmas


Someday at Christmas men won't be boys Playing                                                            
 bombs like kids play with toys.

Memories are brought back so easy when you play the songs that were played to you as a child.
I received Motown at Christmas album and The Partridge family Christmas album the year Santa brought me a record player. I played them over and over, especially 'Someday at Christmas', and 'One little Christmas tree' by Stevie Wonder.
Every year I will get them out and dust them down. This year they are still brought out, (In fact it was this morning) no need to dust them off these days as it is all digitally mastered, and with one magic click the oldies of yesteryear are brought back into the living room, bringing with it the Christmas's of past. 

My Friends were listening to Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody' about that time, and Boney M's 'Mary's Boy Child', closely followed by the classic Wham's 'Last Christmas' and Shakin Steven's* 'Merry Christmas' in the years to follow. (Which I can't believe I haven't heard in the shops yet this year) Now that I have said that, it will no doubt be the very first song i hear upon setting foot into B&M Bargains this week.  
I was all Motown and Partridge family. I loved those songs long before I was  aware David Cassidy or Stevie Wonder were popular.

So what does Christmas mean to you?
It meant family time to me as a young child. 
I put that question to my children and their views are similar to mine as a child. 
Children's views are mainly moulded from their own experiences, still young enough to be influenced largely by your parents/guardians and surroundings they grown up in.
My youngest told me that her best friend celebrates Christmas going to church most of the day, and her other best friend (you can have more than one bestie* apparently) thinks Christmas is no big deal and doesn't really celebrate Christmas time.
She wanted my opinions on that. 
How to put it into words. 
My thoughts were along these lines - Christmas is celebrated so many different ways to some, and not at all to others. Which is right?
Well the plain simple answer is if it feels right to that person, then that way is the right way. 
Do we have the monopoly to tell someone how or even whether to celebrate at all? Certainly not in my opinion. I don't think society should dictate 'this is the done way and any other way is wrong' or feed us information to brainwash us one way or another. Let us be happy, let us celebrate, or not. Let it be our choice.

They say Christmas has the highest suicide rates, because a lot of people feel alone more at this time of year, and see no way out. A time where some have lost loved ones, or don't know where the next meal is coming from. I'm not talking about the Victorian ages here. You could be forgiven for thinking the Victorian age has caught up with us in some ways. Society is more aware of the poor needing care and support these days and not just through the media, but through living it. It isn't just happening to someone else, it is happening to your good friend, or neighbour or you. 
True richness comes not from your income but your outcome, your own out put of a smile or a gesture to offer support or care. Whether it be a kind word on the internet, or a smile to your neighbour or a positive step in getting in touch with someone you have not heard from, for one reason or another. 
Giving a kindness.
It goes a long way, and is the only real richness a person can accomplish and be worthy of. 

So today Christmas* or whatever word you want to put there in its place. means to me, the well-being of mankind.
If the vast amount of worldly resources that were put into wars were instead used and 'put' the opposite way, to obtain a more harmonising equality existence, then would that mean living in standards somewhere along the lines of world peace? Well as near as harmony would have it, you can bet. 

                                   A world were men are free*

                                   maybe not in time for you and me, but someday....

                                  I hope.

                                   I hope it is in our time. 

*bestie = Best Friend
*Shakin Stevens = Jeans-clad rocker, a bit like Elvis (a bit) famous for 'This ole house' and 'Merry Christmas everyone' 
*Christmas = Well-being of mankind
*A world where men are free* = A dream we can hope for. Possibly help in whatever way we can, even if it is a smile. 

Monday, 4 November 2013

I have a cat. I have a cat that is an owl.

I have a cat.
I have a cat that is an owl.

I have a cat. He is a famous cat. He is extra special. Not least because he can open doors with his shoulders! He has muscles like he-man. I can't even open some of the doors he can manage. And not least because he can go to sleep on top of a flat screen tv, and especially not because he begs like a dog for cat treats and even his plain old cat food, then will cuddle you in after eating.
No he is special because he is one of the stars of my book, in my chidren's series of stories.

With a difference. Sooty (Lord Snoots) is a cat. Sooty (Lord Snoots) in my book is an owl!
We gave him the nikname Lord Snoots due to the way he sits and looks at us waiting to be served very regally.
Did you know there was such a thing as a Sooty Owl?
No I didn't either.
Until I did some research on owls (I thought I knew everything there was to know about owls as I love them so much)
He was going to be Lord Snoots the snowy owl, now it has changed to Lord Snoots the sooty owl!
Quite a transformation from white to black, but very apt for my sooty cat, and I certainly enjoyed creating this character and bringing him to life.
Sooty agree's. I couldn't have done it without him.
Sooty should have been a fluffy soft teddy bear, due to the way he loves cuddling in.
Cats are meant to be strangers in your own home, unlovable, selfish creatures, or so I've heard. Not ask for cuddles like a puppy!
I do have photo evidence of course. I also have another cat called Tipsy. That's another story.

Obviously Sooty has his very own book underway, and he is a cat in that one, but I must get this series of magic owls out first, before starting another project.
The books have been written and edited and are waiting patiently for me to put the final touches to the illustrations and format it all to e-book form. About the illustrations, that was the easy part! The hard part was after. I love art and drawing. I used to make my own cards and scrapbooks, so I thought it would all be so exciting to do.
But I didn't realise how much time and effort goes into it all. Deciding on what pictures to use. How would I colour the backgrounds? would they be left pencil sketches?  Maybe the odd one, but mainly coloured with water paints or pencils, what about brilliant art pens? So a combination then? I couldn't decide at the time, then when I did I would change my mind, then change it back!
 How would I get it onto the computer and adapt it to the size and again colour I was after?
So many decisions and I didn't want to spoil it by rushing. Sometimes I left it for days and with a clean head went back to it, as you do when you write a book or a chapter. When you read it again you see it with new eyes.
I did love the time when the children drew owls in the baltic museum in Newcastle and then pinned then up on the board, that was great fun. So plenty of photo's taken that day.
Then I became aware the place had gone mad with owls. These crazy owls, you will see them everywhere you go now. I got a text to say -'What have you done? the world has gone owl mad!'
'Don't be silly' I said until I came across the newest range in wilkinsons and every other shop I go into!  Not real ones I might add,no,the stuffed variety.Not the real stuffed variety, the plush stuffed! Well you know what I mean.
It is true though, when you are focused on a subject you see it everywhere you go! If it was elephants, then that is what you would find in the isles at asda. If it was pigs, well you get the picture :)

So I am at the stage now where I am being asked when is the book ready to go out?
November I say!
I am still fiddling with my errors.
Today the printer broke, on the same week the boiler died on us, and the stair carpet man didn't come on the day he said he was going to. (The only day I had off work)  instead he came knocking at the door today just as I was in a mad rush out the door going to work.
I need more time! But I have wrote a blog about that, so will just leave time alone. I wish It would do the same for me, from time to time anyway.

Enjoy My cat pictures.