Archive for April, 2009

Ulverston… on the edge of a bay… on the fringe of mountains!

April 26, 2009

sdc11091sdc11104sdc10614Ulverston is a small market town on the edge of Morecambe Bay, and within sight of the wonderful Lake District. This is my home, and has been for forty years, although sixteen of them were living in a village close by. Throughout the year we have festivals which bring in many tourists. Annual Carnival, Dickensian Weekend, Lantern Procession, St George’s Celebration, Folklore Festival, Walkers festival… the list goes on. Bands play on Thursday through the summer and also on special occasions. These last two weekends have been very special.

Last Sunday, Ken Dodd arrived to unveil the new Laurel and Hardy statue. Stan was born in our town. A huge crowd gathered and the Town Band and others entertained for several hours. The place was swarming with Sons of the Desert and other Stan and Olly fans. 

This week it has been the turn of the Feast Of St George. All very patriotic with flags flying and market stalls bright with striped awnings etc. 

What do I think of St George? Well, as a patron saint of England would seem rather odd (considering George was not from this country) but the idea of slaying dragons (if we mean by that, all that would threaten the lives of the innocent and vulnerable) well, okay I guess, as long as we see it as metaphorical and not actual.  In other words. slaying by the power of the Word rather than by the sword,

Thankfully it stayed fine for both events, and our great Town Band was able to play in the sunshine. Fireworks usually finish off these festivals but I would rather they didn’t. It is sheer hell for the pets in the area.

Ulverston has a delightful canal, wonderful walks, A monument on a hill, fantastic views — but more of these later.

Advertisements

Lake District National Park

April 13, 2009

sdc11040We are very privileged to live close to one of the loveliest places on earth, and it is pretty good here too! We do go away for holidays, usually to Derbyshire (Bronte country) to visit both the area and relatives. But I love the rugged coastal regions and we have to travel much further to get there.

With spring in full bloom, it takes a lot to drag me away from our garden. But we take a walk to either the local hill to get the fantastic vistas of sea and mountains, or down via a canal walk to the Morecambe Bay shore. Today we took a drive into the upper Lakes area and visited Wasdale, stopping for lunch at a pleasant place in the middle of woods. 

Sun and shadow over the rugged rock and screes dropping down to deep Waswater, Sheep and their lambs grazing peacefully, sunlight glinting on rippling streams. No hussle, no noise, no clutter, no shacks — just peaceful countryside littered with primroses and sorrel. 

 

Wasdale in spring 2009

Wasdale in spring 2009

Great Gable, in the far distance, caught in the sun as the mist is lifting. This is one of the most rugged areas of the Lake District. It contrasts with the more heavily wooded slopes of Whinlatter and similar parkland. 

See my anthology, Still Waters Run Deep, Stories of Hidden Depths,  centred mainly in the Furness peninsular and Keswick areas.  http://www.magpiesnestpublishing.co.uk for viewing samples.

For more photos of the Lake District, and others, visit:

http://www.myspace.com/gladyswrites

KILROY — Presenter extraordinaire? Renegade politician? Mature woman’s sexy devil? My experience FINAL PART

April 10, 2009

UPDATE September 2012 — Blazing Embers is NOW Smouldering Embers and will shortly be published by Turquoise Morning Press.

Part Five. Sex and the Over Sixties — Embers Blazing!

 I have gained more memory since writing this and find much has been missed out but it more or less follows this pattern.

I put on my school teacher voice: “It isn’t funny, Robert. Not all women get an orgasm with sex. When we were young we were totally ignorant about sex. Our sex education got no further than a single-celled amoeba that divides itself. That’s how we went into marriage. Totally ignorant.”

“So how long did it take? An hour? Two? A week? Months?” A grin followed while the audience laughed.

I can’t recall exact words and order of them. But I tried to get over the problems of sexually ignorant people coming together in marriage and living busy lives and lacking technique. Problems of when children arrive, including physical ones. It was getting rather personal. (Reader beware! With a good interviewer, it is so easy to get swept along paths you did not intend to take!)

A woman in front interrupted, talking about ignorance and being protected from boys by her father, and the thread was lost.

But Kilroy came back and asked if I agreed that sex improves as we get older.

“Yes, I do.”

The man next to me explained things very nicely. He spoke about what sex is like (from a male point of view) from when men are young and want to get to their destination quickly, because it is all about what is in their trousers. (Laughter), to later years when comes the desire to do things more slowly so there is more time for romance. And having years of experience and plenty of time for preliminaries, with no anxieties about performance, sex is more enjoyable.

There were plenty of interruptions (the woman in front again) and, of course, far more was said during this period and quite likely in different words — it is a long time ago to remember exactly— but that was the gist of it.

Kilroy moved on to plastic surgery. A big issue. The heavily made-up lady who had shared our car to the studio, proudly announced that her husband had bought her a tummy-tuck for her birthday. I wondered what she looked like minus make-up and clothes. Probably quite ordinary. She had plenty of meat on her, tummy-tuck or not, and no doubt a whacking big scar somewhere or other. Did she go to bed dressed up and in make-up? Or was all this expensive treatment just to look good when showing herself to the world? She had already proudly announced that she wore designer clothes and make-up. But that was her choice and there are very many like her. Even primitive peoples beautified themselves with paint and did painful things to their bodies.

Others had undergone surgery, or intended to, and spent a lot on making themselves look good according to their standards. But there were those present who looked better, and more natural, without heavy costs. Why go to great expense? It had already been established that some women there dressed to find sexual partners. A couple appeared to be advertising themselves.

The answer came, in part, from a woman who had clearly been invited because of the expense she had gone to in order to re-invent herself (her words). Clearly she had spent a lot of cash on clothes, make-up, hairdressing and surgery. She refused to give her age but I had to admire her. Even so, there was something about her that did not look real. Somehow she did not look feminine. Her body looked slim but hard. Her breasts looked more like well developed muscles you sometimes see on weight lifters. Her white dress was body hugging and her platinum hair beautifully done, but…

Unfortunately the lady was derided by a few of the people there. I rather think that some of the animosity was because she looked and spoke posh. She had obviously invested many thousands in this re-invented image. If it helped her then that is okay, but how sad that women can be made to feel old and ugly. I blame the media and celebrity hype.

There were men there who thought women should be just natural and that they did not need to dress up or go to all lengths to make themselves sexy. Some women agreed — sexiness comes from within. I said something about some women staying young inside.

I did have other things to say but soon the programme was at an end.

As we were about to leave the studio, most of the women there — young and old — gathered around and wanted to know the title of my book and where they could buy it. After all, apart from the book being quite funny in places, the problems concerning orgasms are not confined to the elderly.

The day following I met a few people in my own home town (where the story is set) who had seen the programme and they too wanted to know where to buy the book. One had gone to our local bookshop to see if it could be ordered. The book was not even in print. I was unable to find a publisher. Some were interested but said it did not fit a genre to suit their readers as the characters were too old.  But since it has been enjoyed by both men and women of all ages, I would dispute this (see other posts on ‘Sex and the Over Sixties’, and ‘Blazing Embers’ and Sex, sex, sex! Over sixties too’). A male oldie said the book had changed his life. And yet my grandchildren enjoyed it too. It partly tells of life years ago as well as problems faced in the present. So I printed it under Magpies Nest Publishing with the pen name of Angela Ashley. It is now available in the USA as Blazing Embers by Gladys Hobson. (see below) Soon it will also be available as an e-book by Mythica Publishing.

If only it had been available then and there!

I sent the manuscript to Simon Powell as he had asked. After a while, and hearing nothing from him, I rang the studio and found that he was no longer there. Shortly after that show he walked out and no one could tell me where he had gone. His secretary returned the manuscript. Ah, who knows what Simon might have done with it? A programme series? I don’t expect I’ll ever know.

Read a couple of chapters at http://www.magpiesnestpublishing.co.uk

You can buy a book there (under pen name, Angela Ashley)

 

 

Kilroy: Part Four. My Embarrassing Moment

April 1, 2009

An Embarrassing Moment, never to be forgotten.

We were ushered through to the studio and directed to where we were to sit. The benches were in tiers and curved so that we all had a reasonable view of what was going on.

The studio lights were directed on all sitting there and it was difficult to see into the dim space beyond. It is likely that the whole thing was set up to make us feel cut off from the huge studio space and to be a complete social group. The people on the first few rows were obviously grouped in such a manner as to gain some confrontation and provoke comment and argument. The staff who had been talking to groups earlier seemed to be telling individuals what was likely to happen and who would be speaking first, and the probable responses that would come from those with opposing views.

This is an assumption made from snatches of conversation and directed looks. I was not involved and had already been told that Kilroy would speak to me about my book during the show.

We were given instructions to clap and make a vocal welcome when Kilroy appeared coming down the steps, but first he came to speak to us. In the dim part of the studio I had already seen him talking to his team and looking up at the seats. It was too dark down there to see if he was indeed the sun-baked, silver-haired Lothario, scoffers make him out to be. The show had been going for years and no doubt he would know exactly where the initial speakers would be sitting. I wondered how he would remember names. An excellent memory or did he have a prompt somewhere? If he had a tiny receiver in his ear I didn’t see it.

The show was about to start and Kilroy walked over to us. First to have a word to those who were to begin the discussion, then to tell us all what we must not say — anything that might offend viewers or the BBC guidelines, including bad language. He went off but not for long.

Soon came the music, clapping and the usual hubbub that accompanies Robert Kilroy-Silk down the steps to confront the camera and tell the viewers what the show is about. I don’t remember the exact words but something about getting older and still being sexy. I sat wondering how I fitted in with this group made up of women of all ages and a small sprinkling of men. I have never considered myself sexy, not even when I was young. I only wore make-up for special occasions, and now, almost never.

Let battle commence, seemed to be the feeling of the programme right from the beginning. A young lady seemed set on ridiculing those older women who, in her opinion, dressed like teenagers, ladies of the night, or otherwise drew attention to their attributes. I could see she had a point as to the suitability of certain clothes for the older fuller figure: without bras some breasts tend to look like the proverbial two pear drops dropped into a bag, and deep cleavages an invitation to dispose of one’s sweetie papers.

Of course, some women had deliberately dressed as though going to a party or for a drink with friends. But there were those who said they would be quite happy to go shopping in their heavy makeup and, what to me were, bizarre clothes. I thought it all rather jolly that over (well over) sixties felt free to dress as they pleased. Hair pink? Why not? My scalp is pink and plenty of that is showing. Swinging breasts in low-cut dresses? I’ve got the swing but I wish I had the nerve — life would be much more comfortable.. Dressing-up with the intention for one night stands? Their bodies they’re flogging.

In all this Kilroy was most skilful in keeping the talk flowing and switching from argument to a different point of view, or another subject. He already had a good-looking woman picked out to display her choice of clothes and make-up — quietly elegant. She stood up for him and gave a twirl, as did others. In front and to the side of me, a curious man wearing a rather odd hat, turned out to be a fashion designer, and he agreed to ‘dress’ one of the despairing ladies to help her get a companion. Older women and sex came up, and a young person seemed to think oldies should not go out poaching men from them. She seemed to have the idea that sex was only for the young. I detected an element of disgust in the idea that oldies engaged in sex.

The question came up as to whether only the young can possibly have enjoyable sex — or some such. A glance in my direction and before long Kilroy was heading up the steps to stand next to me, microphone at the ready.

“Gladys,” he said. I looked up and smiled nervously.

“You sent me the manuscript of your book, didn’t you?” Kilroy asked, looking first at me and then around his audience, drawing their eyes in my direction.

“Yes.”

“And I said to you, “Cool the sex.”

“Yes.”

I doubt anyone heard me answer because they were all laughing. I tried to keep cool and not show my embarrassment.

“Gladys sent me the manuscript of a book she has written. It’s about a granny who wants sex.”

“Oh no — a granny who wants an orgasm,” I quickly corrected him, but the laughter made it impossible for me to explain further.

“And that isn’t sex?” Kilroy quipped.

“Ho, ho, ho. he, he, he.” The laughter ran around the studio like a man racing for a toilet after being fed a triple dose of laxative chocolate, plus a pint of rough cider after a mayoral banquet!

That is just the beginning of my embarrassment— more to follow. Don’t miss the last bit: Oh, what we authors do to get out book noticed!

Read a couple of chapters at http://www.magpiesnestpublishing.co.uk

PLEASE NOTE: UPDATE SEPT. 2012 BLAZING EMBERS IS NOW SMOULDERING EMBERS AND WILL SHORTLY BE PUBLISHED BY TURQUOISE MORNING PRESS