DAYS OF RAIN AND FIRE

We here in the Western Cape have been rendered helpless and hopeless. We have had a week from hell.

We had a bad storm, but not the mother and daughter or father and son of all storms. In my over thirty years of living here but bad enough with loss of life and homes and a little water to relieve some of the drought situations, but not enough yet. A lot of mopping to be done in the aftermath, but grateful that it was no worse.

Worse though was the devastating fires that raged through the Knysna, Sedgefield and Plettenberg Bay areas of the Western Cape with extensive loss to property, animals, and human life. It was such a sad thing to have happened. We are now crying with our friends there. We have all been touched my this. Everyone knows someone who has been affected. A friend’s family , a family member, or a friend or relative somewhere in that area has seen the disasters but has also, and more importantly seen the wonderful help that has been forthcoming from so many wonderful people. Municipalities sent volunteers firemen and women, and full-time employees too. All dug in. Strangers helped each other. The towns became united in their misery.

This morning the worst of the fires are over, and mopping up operations continue, and now is the time for us to really be there in support of these people. The spirit of the people  in the area is great though. They are sitting up and saying, ‘we are open for business as usual. Come now, come and visit, spend your money in our towns. We need your help.’ And they do.

For And what of those who have lost everything? I tried to put myself in their shoes, but was overwhelmed by the mere thought of where to start. Imagine that you have, the clothes you stand up in, and nothing more… A few days ago you had a roof over your head, a car in the garage, a job to go to, and bills to pay. Now? You don’t even have a utility bill to prove who you are, and perhaps not even an identity document.

What about the man who has lost his wife, his children and his home and car? What does he do? Well, one in particular, it was reported, got up, dusted himself off and went to help fight the fire. What a hero!

Two firefighters lost their lives in the tragedy, one a volunteer, one an experienced and valuable member of a firefighting team. Unsung heroes all of them. A young family died, amongst others, a little boy celebrating his birthday and his mother waiting for a new baby to arrive. There will be no happy ending to their tale.

We went down to our local fire-station yesterday where bemused firemen were still collecting goods to take to the people up there who needed our donations. They, too, were just shaking their heads in disbelief. They, too, could not believe what has happened.

Well, we can’t sit by and just shake our heads in disbelief. We have to be positive, do something positive, no matter what. We must support each other.   This is our own private ‘war’ we are fighting. We are fighting the elements and these elements of nature have no mercy.

And no matter how small the helping hand you offer, it is and will be appreciated. Just DO IT.

 

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WHAT ABOUT THE WEATHER

We have been warned that there is a storm to beat all storms headed our way and to batten down the hatches, lock up everything that moves or floats or is in any way not fixed to something solid. According to the weather experts this was supposed to take place today. Schools have been closed for the day. Now, I don’t know what it is like other than what I have heard on television and on radio, but I think we have lived through far worse in the past.

Here in my little neck of the woods, actually a very rocky little knoll, this storm is turning out to be a pussycat.  Yes, there is wind blowing, but not at hurricane force, and yes we are getting some rain, but only in short little spurts, and certainly not enough to cause major flooding.

I listened to the news bulletins, and yes, there are reports of some trees down here and there, and rockfalls in areas where they always have rockfalls, but this is not the mother of all storms. We have endured far worse.  People have been moved to higher ground in areas where the slightest shower causes major flooding – in places where they should never build in the first place. That is normal. That is part of a Cape winter. We should be used to it by now.

At the moment as I look out of my window I can see blue sky and a garden glowing in sunshine. May be worse is to come, yet the barometer, although it has moved some, is not showing a storm brewing.

So, my question, is therefore: Why do we pay people to predict the weather? They invariably get it wrong. I think the old story of one’s arthritis telling you about weather changes is far more accurate. Of course, there are many web sites which will give you this information, one a little better and a little more accurate than the other, but in the end Mother Nature has a way of making a fool out of each and everyone who decides they know what is going to happen.  Looking out the window is probably of more use than listening or reading about the ‘predictions’.

Yet, if I must be quite honest, it isn’t every day that I phone a friend to hear that his car has been crushed to a few pieces of useless metal by a falling tree. He certainly feels that this is  a monster of a storm, and no doubt so does his insurance company.

And maybe, just maybe by tomorrow I will be singing a different tune when the storm really hits us hard. Perhaps, this is just a fore-taste of what is to come. And for once I hope that I will be proved wrong.

Watch this space. I will be back.

 

 

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NEW TECH BEATS ME

I am really feeling the effects of my advanced age these days. I had thought I was up with technology, but as a writer who now wants to set up a profile to interact with my readers I find I am sadly lacking in skills. The terminology used has me beaten, hashtags and metatags and various other words mean very little in my mind. The ways to market myself and my books are even more formidable. Everything is so different. I can no longer just write a letter and post it. Oh no, too easy. I have to use something called Mailchimp and it has its own set of rules and regulations as to how to format my mail list, how to insert a special form so that they can opt in or out of my mailings (see, I can’t even remember the terminology. But, I am not one to give up. I am going to master all these things. I will conquer my own Everest. Nothing will stop me except death itself and I hope that is a long way off. The reason I am doing all this is because I can’t afford to buy professionals’ time for these chores, and I need to do all this so that I will be able to afford their time, all of which is like a dog going around and trying to catch his tail. You know, I, like all my compatriots have lived through typewriters that had to be pounded with heavy fingers to make an impression on the paper, to conventional electric typewriters, to more sophisticated golf ball typewriters, telex machines with no pre=typing available, to telexes that you could prepare to avoid mistakes , to fax machines, to computers that took up a whole room, to desktop computers to laptops, to tablets, to smart phones. Now those are one heck of a lot of changes in about fifty years. And we have lived through them all. So you young folk out there, don’t laugh at my ignorance. Rather please give me a helping hand.  And my two new books, “Eyes of Evil”, and “The Lies They Lived” are apparently only coming live on my promo piece as they hadn’t linked them to my previous book Hanna’s Home, and Dust Devils Dance is not their either. No wonder sales have been limper than a week old lettuce leaf in a fridge.

Hope to see you soon.

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NEW BOOKS

I am back! Unlike the Terminator, I am here to stay. Two new books launched this week, “The Lies They Lived” and “Eyes of Evil”. Check them out, they are both on Amazon and Kindle.

I feel quite positive about it all. This is the start of the writing career I planned about fifty years or more ago. I will promise to keep up with my blog posts. I will promise to write more regularly and to post more content.

I will be here, I will assist those struggling with their writing – sisters or people in arms. I will get serious about this all.

I will also tell everyone about the books I have been reading.

Staring with “The Bridge Club” by Joseph Coots. To be honest I ordered this by mistake thinking it was the Patricia Sands book. Well, I found that whilst it had nothing to do with the game of bridge, it had everything to do with bonding, with ‘sister’ love and being there for each other. I found the author’s style so intriguing because he seemed to take on the persona of these women whom he wrote about. Incredible how he ‘got’ what being a woman was all about, and how we need our friends through the hard times and the good. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Now I am awaiting the Patricia Sands book, which IS about the game and the friendships forged over a bridge table. As a keen bridge player I am sure I will enjoy this too.

Mainly the other books I have been reading are on Kindle but more about them in the next blog.

So I hope you will all be back for more. And hopefully I can introduce you to some of my other work as well.

See you then!

 

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WHAT’S IN A BLOG

I have been neglecting my writing of late. I got cold feet after a long writing session. This is what happened.
Last November I participated in Nanowrimo once again. I thought I had a wonderful story. I was quite upbeat about. When completed I sent it to my husband to do the first rough edit. I have always done this in the past and it has worked well. He has been very supportive and a good sounding board, picking up on all the little quirks and errors.
This time, he did what was required and sent it back to my laptop saying nothing. Strange I thought, but waited. A week or two later I asked what he thought. He hesitated then said, “I didn’t think it was as good as the last ones. It was tame.”
I felt as though he had hit me with a wet whale. I sat back astounded. And then I tried to jazz it up a bit, but the enthusiasm had left me. I should be getting on with it and moving it along, but I can’t face it. Now, it’s almost that time of year again, and usually, the novel from the previous year is on Kindle and in print and out there.
Now what to do? Do I let my ‘masterpiece’ die, or do I give it the kiss of life? I am so unsure of myself. Oh me oh my!
Now I have always read that one should not give unpublished work to family members to read, but it has always worked before. Have the chickens come home to roost as they say?

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LAUNCH OF MY NOVEL ‘ HANNA’S HOME’

My very own book available on Amazon and Kindle

My very own book available on Amazon and Kindle

Hanna’s Home InformationI am so pleased to be able to announce the launch of my novel “Hanna’s Home” this week on both Amazon and Kindle.
Last year in November I joined NaNoWriMo’s exercise to write a novel in a month. meaning I would have to commit to writing at least 2000 words a day. Not such a terrible task, but as I was on holiday for part of the time, it took some discipline on my part. By the 25th of November, “Hanna’s Home” had passed the 60000 word mark and I was very chuffed with myself. The certificate awarded helped swell the already inflated ego just a little more. Then there were the promises of great prizes but the one that intrigued me the most was Createspace offering five free copies of the book in print. Well, this sounded just the sort of incentive I needed. However when I first looked at what would be required of me to obtain this dangling ‘fish’ I was a little intimidated to say the least.
Me create a pdf document, and select a cover that was the right size and format, find a suitable picture, choose a size that would suit the cover, give a short blurb, provide info about myself? It all sounded too much.
So, as is my habit, I procrastinated,. The expiry date ws June this year, so as June approached I found I needed to do something or let the chance slip by me. Out came the manuscript and I started editing, but found I had duplicate chapters and things that weren’t right. I got in a total state of confusion seeing the opportunity of finally having my book in print slowly slipping through my fingers.
So armed with a memory stick I headed down to the local printers and asked for a photocopy of my book. That cost a bit, but it was worth it, because now I could see where the problems lay. That sorted, I opened a new file and put it all together. Then the dreaded pdf file. Out came my old copies of The Writing Magazines which I read diligently, making copious notes. I was now ready to tackle the world of publishing. Strangely enough that was the easiest part of teh whole exercise.
Now the cover, and I was pleasantly surprised to find such a selection that I had no trouble finding one to suit my needs. Out came the photographs till I foudn one that lent itself to my theme. That done, the blurb was short and sassy (or so I thought) Author biography was easy too, I know myself well enough. Then dowload for review. Okay that was a bit of a mission to get it quite right. But then the tax information for royalaties stymied me. I wasn’t a UsA citizen either in the States or abroad, I did not live in the European Union and all the information required seemed to apply to them. So a ream fo emails to Createspace which they responded to promptly and efficiently. Still the thing evaded me. I put it aside for a few days thinking I had wasted my time. Then I picked it up again. Book was ready to be put up on the website if I would only complete the tax information. I tried again, and this time it worked. There it was. I could order my very own copies of “Hanna’s Home – A Novel by Margie Wilson” complete with ISBN numbers and all. Not bad for a computerphobe.
And you want to know about Hanna’s Home? My baby My Pride and Joy.
My very own book available on Amazon and Kindle

My very own book available on Amazon and Kindle

Hanna’s Home Information

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At a ripe old age I have suddenly discovered that my mother lied to me. Now, not that she was a bad mother. On the contrary, she was extremely loving, kind, self-sacrificing, caring and good as I have said before. But she got one thing very wrong. Granted I was the proverbial ugly duckling, all legs and arms and a long thin face, but I did turn into a swan, although it has taken me years to realise this.
It happened like this. I was recently asked to provide a series of photographs for my women’s group, for a project they were doing. So I trawled through a camphor chest full of old photographs. I wound some baby ones, a few as a child, one as a teenager, one as a bride, and one that quite shook me. Here amongst this teasure trove of memories I found one of myself taken when I was in my early thirties. And I couldn’t believe it. There I was, sitting behind my sewing machine, with a perfect complexion, and I looked beautiful. No really, beautiful. l
Mum had convinced me from an early age that it was far better to have a good and kind nature than beauty, because beauty would fade but a nice caring disposition would last forever. I thought this true, especially when it was reinforced by a dear kind beautician who came to my school when I was a teenager. She was giving us lessons in make-up techniques and described various facial shapes. There were round ones and perfect ovals, those that were a little square, and then she turned to me. I can still see that pitying look in her eyes as she said, “And then unfortunately we have long faces, like this one here,” and she pointed to me. “A horse-face”. At that moment I could have curled up and died.
I was shattered and from then on went out into the world convinced that I was ugly and that nobody would want me. I took to saying that they should put a bag over my head because despite the horsey look I had a good figure and a great pair of legs.
Funny though, this ‘ugly’ face still saw me have a lot of beaus, and according to my husband who proposed very cheekily one day (but that’s another story for another day), there were lots of them who didn’t have the courage to put their feelings into action to tell me how they felt.
So there it was, a photograph which told the story that I wasn’t that bad. I’m old and wrinkled today but think of all the missed opportunities I have had. Maybe that wasn’t such a bad thing though. If I’d known I was better looking than I thought, perhaps I would have become vain and haughty and objectionable. So perhaps my mother lied to me for my own good. I’ll never know, but oh those wasted chances I had when I could have achieved anything with more belief in myself.
Maybe though I’ve learnt that everything and everybody has their own beauty. I never had a daughter of my own to tell that she was beautiful as I’ve heard my friends reinforce their daughters. All you mums out there, let your daughters know they are beautiful, give them a sense of worth in themselves. There are enough other battles to fight without believing you aren’t worthy of a second glance.

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