Bloggers Books: Chaya Ubhayakar

I am very pleased to announce that Chaya has had her first book published. It is a nicely-illustrated book for chidren, ‘Different and Similar’.

This story is about the friendship between Missy, a Golden Retriever, and Billu, a cat, and their love for Jai, a ten-year-old boy.

Children will discover how Missy and Billu show love and kindness to each other by respecting their differences and appreciating their similarities.

Illustrated by Andrea Benko, the book explores how in a world where everyone is unique, similarities can always be found.
This is a tale of Jai and his dog Missy welcoming a new friend, Billu the cat. Follow how Missy and Billu discover the differences and similarities between each other.

Here is an Amazon link where you can find out more, and buy a very reasonably priced Kindle copy.

This is a link to Chaya’s blog, where you can read more about her and her work.
https://chayasheela.wordpress.com/

Back, But Not Quite Back

Well, I am back from my holiday week by the sea, and delighted to report that I am smiling! The weather was perfect; nice temperatures combined with blue skies and a sea breeze. The one shower we encountered was when we were driving back from somewhere, and it only lasted for ten minutes.

All in all, the perfect English seaside holiday.

Ollie enjoyed his change of scene, and made new friends too. He even got to sample a special canine ice cream, and there will be a photo of him enjoying that in due course. As we have been to that same place on four previous occasions, there will not be many new photos other than some of our accommodation, and Ollie relaxing.

But returning home to a house left closed up for seven days means there are jobs to be done, so I will not be back to blogging until next week. Meanwhile, I have had to delete hundreds of emails and post notifications, so apologies for not being around your blogs. However, I will do my best to reply to all comments left during my absence, and will get on that starting from Monday.

My thanks to everyone who continued to read this blog while I was away, ensuring that I had steady numbers of views even when I wasn’t around.

Best wishes to you all, Pete.

Blog Stuff

As we come to the end of the month, and Autumn looms, I felt prompted to have a review of my blog once again. Regular readers will be aware that I cut back on my posts recently, and that has a significant effect on views and followers, just as I had expected. That isn’t a complaint, as that was my intention. And it worked.

On my Home page, WordPress now lists my follower total as 8,481. I am happy to report that I have had a reduction in ‘fake followers’ lately, and only a few companies trying hard to promote their goods by following my blog. There are also fewer followers without Gravatar links or posts on their own blogs. That’s great to see.

Including this one, I have posted 3,482 posts since 2012, and had 541,620 views of my blog. Even after posting less, I still get between 225-400 views a day, much easier to deal with than the 600+ I enjoyed previously.

I am currently following 114 other bloggers, and with six exceptions, they are all posting and active. If nothing arrives from those six bloggers by the end of 2021, I will follow six different ones after Christmas.

Guest Posts are still popular, and I would like to remind all my followers, old and new, that the offer remains open indefinitely. If you would like a guest post here, just send me an email to petejohnson50@yahoo.com

The latest series of fictional short stories has been well received, with views more than comparable to my usual serials. Each first line was suggested by a fellow blogger, and this is a good way to engage with others in the community. Using links to their blogs also helps make us all better known to each other, further developing the feeling that we are all in this together.

Any post about my dog Ollie guarantees a lot of interaction. As he gets older and slower his popularity never wanes, and he remains very much the heart and soul of my blog, with his many admirers and his ongoing adventures on our dog walks.

My blog trundles along in the same old way, and I still love being a blogger as much as I ever did.

Still Worried About Michel

Despite my earlier post, and trying again to contact him by sending emails, I can still find no trace of fellow blogger, Michel.
https://raistlin0903.wordpress.com/

His blog is still online, but there hasn’t been a post on it since November the 25th, 2020.

It is so unlike Michel not to post, not to comment on the blogs he follows, or to reply to emails.

I have a bad feeling something awful has happened, and would dearly love to hear from anyone who has been in touch with him in 2021.

If you don’t want to reply in the comments, please send me an email (address on my About page) and I will keep your information to myself.

Thanks in advance, Pete.

Guest Post: Chaya Ubhayakar

Today I am very pleased to bring you a guest post from retired teacher and blogger, Chaya.
https://chayasheela.wordpress.com/

My love of words….

It started with….
“Ajja, what is stupid?” I asked my beloved grandfather. I sensed that the girl who had uttered that word in the playground didn’t mean it as a compliment, and I wanted to know what it meant. Ajja was dismayed by my use of the word and said not to repeat it, and more importantly, not to address someone with it…ever. Confused, I was about to go and ask Papa when Ajja quietly gave me a pocket-size Collins English Gem Dictionary (1936 edition and still used by my hubby and me) and guided me to locate the word and learn the meaning. This little gem opened a whole new world for me…. A world of words to look up, and learn.

My Ajja was deeply spiritual, loving, and well-read, with elegant handwriting…. A man of few words. He was my first teacher of the English language. We had two big wood and glass cupboards full of carefully covered, gently treated and almost revered books. Some rare ones like The Discovery of India by Jawaharlal Nehru come to my mind. As a child, I would look through the glass with longing at those interesting, big volumes that were out of bounds for me. (Only grown-ups handled those precious books.) Ajja would often take a book out, put one arm around my shoulder, talk about the book then say, “You will be able to read all these books very soon.” Thus began my love of written and read words.

Nurtured by….
My Papa was a voracious reader who had mastery over spoken and written English. I would find him every morning with his eyes glued to the Indian Express newspaper, reading every word from front to back. On Sundays, I would sit next to him and he would give me the comic section to look at. My Papa was a great storyteller who used expressive words and mimicry to bring his characters to life and mesmerize us. I remember Papa sitting at his old typewriter, with his fingers flying over the keys and immersed in words that would magically appear on the paper. Like many of his generation, Papa’s writing style was floral. He loved to use sayings, proverbs, andexplain their relevance and usage to me. His aerograms sent to England in the ’70s, ’80s to me, my hubby, and my children were so wonderful that I love reading them even now. Papa made me appreciate the power and responsibility of the written word.

My Aai,(Mum) somehow made time in her busy day of taking care of all of us to read to me. Herreading interests are mainly scriptures and teachings of saints. Aai would sit down with me after dinner with a bowl of sliced, fresh fruit and show me mythological big books mostly with pictures. She would turn each page and relate the story in pure Konkani (our mother tongue). Aai showed me that words could transport me to a different world in each story.

Taught by…
My teacher read Marathi literature with such enthusiasm and joy that it was contagious. She introduced me to the nuances of puns, similes, metaphors, and personification. My English teacher drummed the importance of grammar into us and had us chant certain phrases to make sure we would use appropriate words when writing in the past tense, present tense, present continuous, or future tense. To this day, I remember the chants, “ He goes, she goes, it goes, I go, we go, they go.” Or, “I am going, she is going, he is going, it is going, we are going, they are going!”

Hello, Your Royal Highness….
As I left my school days of Enid Blyton and college days of heavyweights like Shakespeare and Wordsworth behind me, got married, and moved to England, I discovered the wonders of words in a whole new way. At public libraries, I had unlimited access to books penned by renowned English writers. In local theaters, I was able to watch plays where thespians brought characters of great writers like Shakespeare to life. I finally made sense of the literature I had read but not fully comprehended as a college-going youngster. I learnt the Queen’s English and pronunciation in a “proper” manner!

A matter of spelling….
Our life took us to America — a land where the written, and spoken language is English. However, the difference in the usage of English In England and America cannot be starker. Another opportunity to learn new words, and relearn old words with different spelling and pronunciation. Once I mentioned to a friend that I called but her phone was “engaged”, she replied curtly “people are engaged, phones are busy!” I went back to university in my fifties to gain a degree in teaching and entered the world of textbooks, and American literature. My favorite classes were creative writing and poetry. My creative writing professor often remarked that he found my writing well-composed and very interesting but, often “wordy”. I valued his opinion and have tried hard to be stingy with words but, alas, “Old habits die hard!”

My love affair with words continues….
My journey as an elementary school teacher gave me ample opportunity to share my knowledge gathered from living on three continents. Although I mostly taught Math and Science, teaching vocabulary played an important part in my day. I adopted words from my students too. Except when they insisted on using double negatives (which was always accompanied by a sheepish look) like, “I didn’t do nothing, Miss!” I could just imagine my grammar teacher being horrified by the use of double negatives which was a definite “no, no!”

I started writing with gusto after retiring. Often inspired by my 91 year-old mum. As a new blogger I have found the perfect platform for my passion for reading and writing. As my love of writing and reading words in Konkani, Marathi, and English continues to deepen, I can feel my Ajja’s and Papa’s smiling approval from their place in my heart.

Please visit her blog to see more, say hello, and welcome her to our wonderful community.

Blogger’s Books: Lorraine Lewis

I am very pleased to let you know that the lovely Lorraine Lewis from https://blindwilderness.wordpress.com/ has had five of her poems published in a new anthology that is available to buy now.

An anthology of faery places. Focused on the winter court and the darker fae.

With Stories By

David Powell

Ruan Bradford Wright

Victor Nandi

Serena Mossgraves

Keely Messino

Sean Padraic McCarthy

Raz T. Slasher

Russell Addams

With Poetry By

Beulah Vega

Patricia Harris

Lorraine Lewis

Ruan Bradford Wright

And Art By

Allene Nichols

Vonnie Winslow Crist

Patricia Harris

Here is what Lorraine has to say about it on her blog.

‘I am delighted to announce that today INTO THE GLEN published by Fae Corps Publishing Inc. is being released.

I am also absolutely delighted to announce that five of my poems are in the book’.

Available on Amazon U.K. here:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s?k=Under+the+shade+into+the+glen&ref=nb_sb_noss

You can purchase it here:
https://books2read.com/Intotheglenundertheshade

If short stories and poetry are of interest to you, please follow the links to find out more, and show Lorraine some community support.

A Premium Upgrade

For a few years now, I have paid an annual fee to have a ‘Personal’ Plan with WordPress. That gave me no advertisements, easier access to tech help, and extra storage space for photos. Considering my blog is my main hobby, I didn’t think the fee was excessive, and for the first year, it included my ‘dotcom’ blog name too. (I now pay a little extra for that)

Then along came the Block Editor.

Regular readers will remember my long campaign against this being forced on users, without the option of retaining my preferred ‘Classic Option’. So I seriously considered giving up blogging, once the Block Editor became the only choice.

I am currently still using the old Classic Editor though (not the Classic Block offered on the new version) and that was supposed to have disappeared by March 2021. No doubt it will go at some stage, and meanwhile I have experimented with some posts using the Block Editor, eventually discovering that I am able to manage my very basic blogging using that. But only when it comes to it of course.

(I don’t intend to start another for and against Block Editor debate with this post. That ship has sailed.)

As I want to stay blogging for as long as I am able, I recently upgraded my payment plan to ‘Premium’. The main benefit of this over the Personal Plan is to greatly increase the space allowance. If you have a free WP blog, the space allowance of 3GB can soon be eaten up by adding photos and images. Moving up to the Personal Plan at £36 a year doubles your storage allowance to 6GB, and after a few years I have still not reached that limit.

The Premium Plan costs £84 a year, and boosts that space allowance to 13GB, which should last me a long time. And I think that £1.61 a week is a small price to pay to be able to relax and enjoy my hobby without worrying about running out of available storage space. I am hoping it will be many years before I have to think about the next option, the Business Plan, which currently costs £20 a month.

(Note that all plan upgrades include the storage already used, and do not start from scratch. So if you have already used 3GB and upgrade to 13GB, you will in effect have 10 GB available)

Tea For Two

I sent some strong English tea bags to Cheryl Oreglia, all the way from Beetley to California. I was hoping she would enjoy trying them, and it seems they exceeded my expectations.

Living in the Gap

Today I’m doing a mini-post as I have been traveling and haven’t had the proper time to write but wanted to briefly share a recent experience with you all because although I’ve been accused of being verbose (using more words than necessary), I’m quite reticent naturally. Bahaha.

Not that you asked, but the history of tea is quite extraordinary, and the way it spreads across multiple cultures over the span of thousands of years is the same as it spreads today. It is introduced by tea lovers to their friends and neighbors as an extraordinary beverage of choice, something that will enhance one’s experience of living, and transform an ordinary day into a sacred ritual.

What’s not to like?

Most of you probably already know that tea originated in southwest China, likely the Yunnan region during the Shang dynasty as a medicinal drink, because as I found out on Monday…

View original post 1,216 more words

How many trees can you eat?

Jim adds some commonsense and home truths to the Carbon Removal debate. And he’s right. As much as I love trees, you can’t eat them.

Jim Webster

It’s a lot of years ago now. My father and I went on this farm walk organised by the Country Landowners Association. In some parts of the England and Wales, the CLA seems to have a preponderance of major estates and landowners, and in other parts of England and Wales most of its members are small farmers.

I think I was about sixteen at the time. What happened was that one of the big local estates (Holker) had had a tenant retire and were wondering what to do with the farm they’d now got to worry about.

So they had the walk, split us into groups and asked each group what they’d do with the farm. Which is as good a way to go about this sort of thing as any I suppose. But at sixteen what fascinated me was how the groups could be sorted by eye. The farmers…

View original post 1,253 more words

The Phone Box at the Edge of the World – Laura Imai Messina

I am always complaining about lack of original ideas in books and films. Here is one that I can’t complain about. I hadn’t heard of this book before, but it sounds like an excellent idea, and an emotional read.

JennyLou's book reviews

I received ‘The Phone Box at the Edge of the World’ by Laura Imai Messina (translated by Lucy Rand) as part of my fiction subscription with @Bertsbooks. The idea of this book is beautiful, and the cover has a delicate, pretty design.

The book follows Yui following the death of her mother and daughter in the tsunami, in Japan. She learns of a phone box which allows you talk to your lost loved ones and decides to travel there to try it for herself.

On her journey she meets Takeshi, a husband who is dealing with the grief of losing his daughter.

Once they reach the garden they learn of its history and the stories of some that choose to visit the phone box.

The story explores the stages of grief and the emotions between two strangers who are trying to deal with the enormous devastation of their losses.

View original post 72 more words