Sarah Potter Writes

Pursued by the Muses of prose, poetry, and music.

Wordless Wednesday — Winter Meets Spring

Fatsia leaf and violets

Monday Morning Haiku #54 — Frog

Frog on Concrete

Frog out of water
Escapade across concrete
Amphibian dare

Wordless Wednesday — Winter Hideout, those Sneaky Snails Rumbled!

Hibernating Snails

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Monday Morning Haiku #54 — Moorhen

Moorhen

Lone Moorhen leaves pond,
walking on grass-coloured stilts,
in search of earthworms.

Wordless Wednesday — The Empty Old Dovecot, A Symbol of Crumbling Peace

The Old Dovecot

Monday Morning Haiku #53 — Acanthus mollis

Acanthus mollis leaves

Lush vegetation
Snails still hibernating
No holes in leaves yet

Two Blogging Awards From India

Liebster Award

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I would like to say a big thank two wonderful bloggers from India, who have independently nominated me for the Liebster Award. Unfortunately, I’ve discovered that this particular award is meant for bloggers with under 200 followers but Sarah Potter Writes has 767 followers, which, sadly, means I’m not eligible to accept it.

So instead of writing a blog award post, what I’m going to do — by way of gratitude to my two nominators — is direct you to their blogs for a read.

First, I introduce you to Keyur Panchal at his super cool blog, Keep Picturing. You can read his Liebster Award post here. Keyur is a traveller, photographer, experimental film maker and a gamer, who works for an eLearning company where he creates and develops 3D sets for educational games meant for kids. Also, he does the most amazing dancing, for which he wears traditional Indian costume. You can see him in action, swirling about, dressed in all his finery here.

Second, I introduce you to Swetank’s wonderful blog, Being Bett’r which is full of self-improvement tips for being a better person. You can read his Liebster Award post here. Swetank is blessed with incredible wisdom for someone so young. I’m not sure of his exact age, but I know he’s a student who, last year, asked me to recommend a cookery book to him that he could use when away from home without his mother to cook for him!

So here you are Swetank, I found my son’s old cookery book he used when fending for himself at university. It’s called Nosh for Students and there are various editions of it, depending upon your tastes, i.e. whether you prefer vegetarian or meat dishes. If you don’t eat a certain type of meat recommended in a particular recipe, it’s easy to substitute it for another meat. You can buy the different books from the series at amazon.com. Might I add, that recently I’ve tried some of the recipes and am finding them easy to cook, tasty to eat, and the ingredients cheap to buy. Enjoy :-)

Wordless Wednesday — Poseidon’s Retirement Home on Village Pond

Poisedon & Seagulls

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Monday Morning Haiku #52 — Dormant

Bare Earth

~Rockery layers~
Bare canvas for gardener
to imagine spring.

February’s Guest Storyteller, Geoffrey Gudgion

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Geoffrey Gudgion started writing in warships during the Cold War, and afterwards consistently failed to reconcile writing with a business career. Following a row with his boss he took a career break, wrote Saxon’s Bane (Solaris, 2013), and didn’t go back. His second novel, Catherine Bonnevaux, is now with his agent. His third is “cooking nicely”.

Website & blog: http://geoffreygudgion.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/geoff.gudgion
Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/geoffrey.gudgion.author
Twitter: @geoffreygudgion

The novel in brief – Six hundred years ago, the village of Halgestede was swept away and the Bonnevaux dynasty born with a terrible oath. Today the Halstead Hall estate is crumbling and the Bonnevaux have forgotten the oath, but the oath may not have forgotten the Bonnevaux.

Intro to extract – Most of Saxon’s Bane was in a masculine voice, but the plot for Catherine Bonnevaux challenged Geoffrey to write some tender moments from a distinctly feminine perspective. Here’s a short sample:

 

CATHERINE BONNEVAUX (Extract)

 “Granny, about…”

“In a moment, darling. Shut your eyes. Tight shut. Let them adjust to the darkness. I’ve something to show you.”

Catherine obeyed, smiling to herself at this child-like complicity. Somewhere nearby a blackbird sang into the gloaming, filling the air with swirling trickles of sound. Faintly, from down in the valley, came the sound of piano music.

“You can open them now. Look around you. See, darling? The daylight stays in the blossom.”

Catherine opened her eyes. Above her, a lattice of branches and blossom screened a sky that darkened to purple in the East, and softened to the West where the Evening Star hung over the hill. Below the horizon the branches were almost invisible against the dark backdrop of the woods. In this near-darkness, the pear blossom appeared to float, unsupported, glowing white as if illuminated from within. Thousands of points of light, dabbed onto the night by a fine-point brush, so they sat within a galaxy of petals that moved almost imperceptibly on the night air.

Strange how you can grow up in a place and not notice something so beautiful, that you can live thirty years without being in this spot, at this time, at this season, with eyes that were not blinded by a torch. Catherine reached for her grandmother’s hand, and squeezed.

“Thank you, Granny.” Her voice caught.

“It’s always best at pear blossom time. There’s more leaf on the trees when the apple blossom bursts.”

“It’s wonderful.” She knew she’d always remember this moment. Her grandmother, birdsong, a distant piano, and blossom, fragrant and pure. A moment of communion that makes all else insignificant.

“I was wooed in this orchard. I was a young nurse, just nineteen. Your grandpa was such a dashing young man, a decorated officer, and yet he brought me out here and showed me the pear blossom at twilight.” Catherine gripped her grandmother’s hand again. As the light faded, the blossom was dimming, so that already it was brightest at the edge of her vision, but the scent remained, cascading its sweetness around them. Catherine felt her hand being lifted and shaken in emphasis. “There are things you wish you’d asked, and there are things I’d like remembered. So when you have children, bring them here, and tell them that your Granny fell in love under this tree.”

Catherine stood, swallowing, and stepped away from the seat, holding out her hand to feel for a branch she knew was there. The bark was coarse and damp, and lichen crumbled under her fingers. At the edge of her vision, a hint of blossom swayed to the movement in the branch. The moon was rising above Brambledown, bathing the valley below in a gentle, monochrome glow. Yellower lights shone in The Old Dairy, silhouetting Fiona in the picture windows. Her outline looked huddled, even at this distance, perhaps folded over her arms, tense. Piano music spilled past her through open French doors, and carried faintly up the hill. Rich, classical music, played loudly and furiously, and too heavy for the moment that she and Granny had just shared.

“Rachmaninoff,” Granny said, coming to stand beside her. “The C Sharp Minor Prelude. Not an easy piece.” They were quiet for a moment, listening, until Granny sighed. “He’s better at Chopin. That’s much too angry.”

Below them, the hunched figure stepped inside, and the music stopped with the shutting of the door.

“Don’t get too fond of him, darling, will you?”

Catherine didn’t answer.

“Only, things are complicated enough already. And I’m getting cold. Where’s that torch?” In an instant, a pool of light beside them turned the night fully black, shrinking the moon glow until only the lights of The Old Dairy were visible beyond the tracery of branches.

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Sarah says: Geoffrey, thank you so much for your return visit to my blog, this time as a guest storyteller. I love this extract from Catherine Bonnevaux, where you’ve captured with such authenticity and atmosphere that special female intimacy between Catherine and her grandmother. I can’t wait to read the whole novel.

For those who missed Geoffrey first time round you might like to read Interview with Author Geoffrey Gudgion, in which we discuss his first novel Saxon’s Bane, and my review of the book on Goodreads, where I awarded it five stars.

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