Author Archives: cnlesley

Changing times

People talk about how the twentieth century was the most fast moving with the advent of world wars, the atom bomb, television, space travel, computers, etc but many overlook the most life changing but hidden differences. Take the middle part of the century, for example. At that time it was normal for a married woman to stay at home to be a house wife but what people don’t realize is it wasn’t only normal, it was essential. Refrigerators were something ordinary households didn’t possess, which meant perishable goods such a meat, had to be acquired every day or other day. Meat not used immediately had to be kept in a meat safe, which had holes or mesh for the air to get in but not the flies.

Cars, if owned, belonged to the man of the house to get to his work. The wife needed to shop every day for food unless the people had a large vegetable garden and a lot of people did. A woman would either walk to the shops, or ride a bicycle, which was better as the goods could go in the basket at the front of the handlebars. Things like cheese came from a grocer shop and the required small amount was cut off a large slab with a cheese wire. Tea, coffee, flour and other dry goods were weighted out on a scale and then bagged up in brown paper bags. Butter was formed into a rectangle with two butter pats and wrapped up in wax paper. Think about the weight of all this and the lack of refrigeration.

One of the now lost jobs was that of a milkman, who would deliver milk and cream in the very early morning. A person would indicate how many bottles were to be left of what type by leaving out a note the night before in the washed bottles to be returned. This was one of the very few delivery services, along with a paper boy and the post.

So now we have a chunk of each day acquiring food and cleaning supplies. Now comes the cooking. Yes, bread came from the baker, but cake and other sweet treats were a tad too expensive for a family with one wage coming in. Some people did make their own bread, though. Everything going into the meals usually had to be constructed with the raw ingredients. I am thinking of things like pastry and also vegetables, as canned or frozen were not about. This also meant vegetables were seasonal.

Yes, there were rudimentary vacuum cleaners, but very few households had a washer. Most did have a mangle and would hang out the laundry on a clothes line irrespective of the temperature. Think about how long it would take to do a load of laundry using a wash board and a mangle?

Now think about the sort of shops that would have to be the heart of a town of a village? Thrown in a yarn and a fabric shop as woman generally made their own clothes and those of their children. Grocer, green grocer, butcher, baker, post office, which would also sell stationary, A haberdashery would supply yarn, clothe, buttons, thread, etc. Book stores only happened in cities or large towns.

Now think about the look of a high street today and the sort of shops. Also think about how much time is spent on shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc. Thanks for your memories, Grandma.

Alas for the time gone by in a flash

Right now, the first major dump of December.

Why the missing time? Stuff happened, some good and more not so good. I have worked on writing but have flitted from one project to another, unable to concentrate properly as I got a good dose of the glums. I think the thing that started that off was waiting forever for a cover for my new book. I’d see a half done version and loved it, but then came the long silence. I will not bug my publisher constantly as it isn’t their fault so I waited and fretted and got glum. The upshot is the project was ditched for some unknown and unexpressed reason so my wonderful publisher scrambled to get a truly wonderful and very busy cover person, Ken Dawson, to do a new one for me. This is by far my favorite cover ever, by a long stretch and I love it to bits. 

Isn’t it brilliant?  So book published and the glums start to recede only to get another negative boost. This is personal stuff mostly about loosing people from this mortal coil, quite a few this year as it happens. It makes for writing xmas cards that bit more difficult because of the omissions as these were people I cared about a lot. Then this month came news that a former friend had died suddenly. I am sad for their family at the unexpected even, albeit I shed my tears years ago when this person chose to walk away from friendship with no explanation. I was over that years back and yet this is still sad. The person was a month younger than me. It makes a person feel a tad vulnerable although my tally of years isn’t that great as yet. 

Then there was sickness. The dh and I caught a very nasty chest cold that lasted a good month. Yuk. The foul thing is doing the rounds as other family members are currently sick with it, although we stayed away from them while infectious. So…having failed to do Nano (the writing marathon for November), this year I am resolved to stop procrastinating and start listening to all the characters who are screaming at me to get on with their stories. Maybe I’ll get a book done by xmas? We will see. 

Wow, a great review for the Shadow series.

I just saw this on Amazon.co.uk and am busy doing my happy dance. Reviews are lifeblood to authors and a huge boost when someone has obviously enjoyed a series. I hope the reader enjoys the fourth book, Staff of Shadows, which is currently 99c on pre-order until publication on October 1st, when it reverts to full price. It is available on all the Amazons, Kobo, Nook and other places. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07H9LNSR1/ .

L L reviewed Shadow Over Avalon
Keys to the kingdom 19 September 2018
I am actually loving this story so much that I am hard pushed to find the right words of praise for this series. As a silly mistake on my behalf when I first found the books) I read the first 3 in reverse, so now I really loved learning how it all started. I was not disappointed! Arthur’s snooping into Shadow’s past via the Archive made me want to read on past the point where I really should be putting down the book and it flows in such a lovely way, that the reference to all the alien tech does not clog up the understanding with over-techinical definitions or super sci-fy information. It’s imaginative and unique. It is simply a joy to have discovered a new fabulous author and I cannot wait for the next book to be released! If you are thinking ‘maybe’ – just don’t! Buy it and read it! You won’t be sorry!

Planting

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I hope I am safe to put my flowers out in containers and hanging baskets. If not, then I will be flying about trying to cover them all with garbage bags. This time of year is always so much of a risk as we could still get snow. Crosses fingers.

When Greed Becomes Obscene.

Some of you are probably just finding out that there is a problem posting a review for a book you have just read. Reviews can now only be attached to the site of your home Amazon account and only if you have spent $50 or whatever in your local currency in the past 12 months. There has to be x amount of cash spent by visa or debit card on any site in order to review there. How many ordinary readers spend that amount in one year? How much money does it take to satisfy the greed of an extremely rich man? I guess that well has no bottom.

Reviews are a writer’s life blood. Why try to strangle us? We get a pitiful amount in royalties anyway, with Amazon taking the lions share and more. A sad, sad day.