Peppers and eggplants... dreaming of ratatouille. Solanaceae, a coat of many colours, some deadly, some nutritious.
A couple of weeks ago, I braved moving on from sketching to do my first acrylic painting. The subject was a humble freshly picked tomato from the family allotment. The painting isn’t perfect but I’m quite proud of my effort.
Mister suggested I accompany my picture with a saucy, gently humorous free verse poem that I wrote more than two decades ago and then posted on my blog in its early days. The verses heralded from a challenge I set one winter Sunday afternoon while visiting some dear friends. This followed on from a roast dinner and an unspecified number of glasses of red wine, so all present were feeling particularly merry. It involved us each writing a poem in five minutes on a given subject, the first subject being “tomato”.
Plump tomato you remind me of Maisie on a Sunday, scrubbed clean beneath a fresh bonnet, shiny red cheeks green eyes and lace frills, smiling, basket upon arm. Maisie loves the vicar and brings him freshly picked tomatoes matching her cheeks. She smells of compost and lavender soap. He asks her for lunch after church. Their eyes meet over large tomatoes eaten whole that squelch as the juice runs down their chins. She giggles into her lace handkerchief, he wipes his chin on the tablecloth, and over the crockery they kiss, all tasting of fresh tomatoes. She giggles some more. He squeezes Maisie the plump tomato and they disappear under the table beneath newly-pressed linen. Maisie's cheeks ripen until she shines with the shiny red plumpness of ready-to-eat fruit. The vicar praises God for tomatoes and descends upon Maisie for dessert. Copyright(c)Sarah Potter, 1997
Sadness, that blank page. Now to draw a happy face with magic pencil. Hark! You gloomsters and doomsters, Art wins the battle hands down.
Geoffrey Gudgion’s second novel Draca is as excellent as his first novel Saxon’s Bane, which reached No. 1 in Kindle’s ‘Ghost’ category. To quote General Sir Peter Wall, President of Combat Stress, Draca is ‘A really cracking read about a soldier who attacks his battlefield demons through his passion for sailing – and sadly still needs help’.
I love the way the author manages to weave Viking mythology, history, and the paranormal into a thoroughly contemporary story. He’s so good at in-depth characterisation, without ever slowing down the pace and forward momentum of his writing.
The story is told from three viewpoints: the main protagonist PTSD-sufferer Jack, his father Harry with whom Jack has a fractured relationship, and love-interest Georgia (George) Fenton who works at the boatyard and is psychic. Interspersed between these chapters are excerpts from the diary of Jack’s deceased grandfather Edvard Ahlquist (Old Eddie), who has bequeathed his entire estate to his grandson, and excerpts from the 9th Century Viking Saga of King Guthrum. The estate includes Draca, a cutter (circa 1905), whose figurehead is a Viking dragon which George believes is possessed by an evil entity that latterly drove Old Eddie mad, and now means to drive Jack mad.
In places, this story really made my spine tingle, and I was right behind George in wanting to knock sense into Jack before it was too late.
This novel is a highly recommended read that will have you sitting at the edge of your seat. Even if you don’t know much about boats and sailing at the beginning of this novel, you’ll end up learning a great deal about the subject. But one word of advice – if you decide to take it up as a sport, don’t ever be tempted to adorn it with a Viking figurehead!
Please note that all author royalties earned through sales of Draca will be shared equally with the veterans’ mental health charity Combat Stress.
About the author: Geoffrey Gudgion served for over 10 years in the armed forces, and made his first attempts at writing fiction during quiet moments on deployment. He later stepped off the corporate ladder, in the midst of a career in marketing and general management, specifically to release time to write.
Draca is available to buy via the following links:
Author website: geoffreygudgion.com
Rewind that decade! Side by side we almost flew, chasing time and scents. Labrador sleeked through meadow, coat a-shimmer. A mirror.
Upon reflection, side by side our hearts still fly, with time the hounder. We compete for silver now, not of riches but of hair.