Monday, 24 September 2012

Steam Trains and Memories

The San Pareil
Steam Trains by George Savage.
We used to sit besides the track,
Watching trains go clickety clack.
We'd count each carriage passing by
And smell the smoke that filled the sky.

My visit to the Locomotion Museum at Shildon on Saturday was like stepping into the past. 
In the autumn sunshine a street organ played nostalgic music while engines belched out steam, with that particular smell that is so reminiscent of railway stations and the excitement of waiting for the first glimpse of the Flying Scotsman pulling its massive train into Darlington station, on its journey from Edinburgh to London.

Crowds streamed into the huge engine sheds at Shildon, scanning the stalls full of memorabilia and appreciating the magnificence of the old engines and carriages that stand there.

In a glass case there is a perfect model of the Locomotion, above a book declaring the opening of the museum in 1978, signed by the Queen Mother.

However, for me, the most impressive thing is the San Pareil, immaculate with green body and yellow wheels.  It brought back memories of an elderly cousin who told us how her father’s father drove that very engine soon after it was built at Shildon.

On my way out, I was asked to buy tombola tickets – without success of course – but as a consolation prize I was handed a tiny lapel badge of the San Pareil engine!!!

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

"The Smile of Deceit" on Kindle

Kindle Version
Both my novels are now on Kindle with brand new covers that present them in a totally different light. 
I achieved this with help from Wendy Robertson, author and founder of the Room-to-Write group. See Wendy’s own blog.  wendyrobertsonslifetwicetasted

When I chose the original covers for the paper-back editions, I was quite happy with the results, but I’m intrigued to discover that these Kindle ones give the novels a completely fresh feeling.

Paperback Version
What do you think? 

Click on the link below.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

The Spare Leg in the Wardrobe

The Wardrobe 
The spare leg belonged to my Aunty, whose life was ruined by the fact that her foot had to be amputated after a children's game went wrong  when she was six years old. She wore an artificial leg for the rest of her life.  And what a brutal leg it was. Made of leather and metal it had a punishing hinge at the knee and a solid wooden foot to fit inside her shoe. She was a tall, good-looking woman with auburn hair and she was very capable.  She was loved by every child that met her and she'd have made a wonderful Nanny, but she hid from the world so that nobody would notice the leg.

Over the last two weeks I’ve thought a lot about her and wondered how she would have reacted to the Paralympics and the sight of athletes wearing sports clothes that revealed their deformities to the world.
And as for those running Blades – they’d have been beyond her comprehension, but as I watched a TV programme showing a young woman athlete being specially fitted with one, I remembered Aunty’s stump wrapped in a thick woollen sock, being forced into that hateful limb.
The young woman in the programme laughed as she told the world that she had five legs including one Blade and one that was suitable to wear with 5” heels.
I wonder if she keeps those in the wardrobe!

Does anybody else have memories like these?