PARLIAMENT AND POTIONS

TRAVEL

We had booked a tour of the Parliament building in Vienna and the MP’s were kind enough to leave the building so we could go and have a good gawk at it.

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It’s a very imposing building (I’m convinced I was Christopher Wren in a former life, I love gazing at architecture).

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I just love that sign telling you where you will find missing children! There didn’t seem to be any around to claim though.

HISTORY (WELL KIND OF)

Now that Carlos of Aragon is dead, busy haunting the streets of Barcelona, his younger brother Ferdinand is heir to the throne. We can forget about all the girl children, because under Salic law women cannot ascend the throne in Aragon.

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This is Ferdinand, but I couldn’t find a picture of him before he got a crown.

Isabella, still controlled by her mad mother spends most of her days praying, but Mummy is now really furious as King  Henry’s wife Joan (miraculously) produces a daughter and so Isabella and her elder brother Alphonso are a step further away from the throne to rule Castile. She is not a happy bunny.

Then, King Henry, summons Prince Alfonso and Princess Isabella to attend court at Segovia, probably so Henry can keep an eye on them. Isabella is now 11 years old and Alfonso 9.

 

AFRICAN FACTS 

SANGOMAS PART 1

Tribal medicine and herbal cures are still alive and well even in the cities in South Africa. You can often see the witch doctors (both men and women) also called sangomas, as they are often dressed more traditionally and are liberally adorned with beads, charms to ward off bad luck and have chicken bladders in their hair.

witchdoctor 1

On two occasions I was told by the sangomas themselves that they woke in the night and followed a voice telling them to leave their homes and walk. They had no idea where they were going but followed paths and roads until they finally arrived – often after days – at the home where they were expected. In each case their host or hostess was an experienced witch doctor who told them they had been chosen to carry on the profession and taught them everything they knew. In both cases the newly trained returned to their home villages to practice.

(More next week)

Amie makes friends with Ouma Adede the best known and most powerful sangoma in Apatu – and I based her on my meetings with the witchdoctors I met and talked to.

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Till next time, take care.

 

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READ, WATCH, LISTEN

If you are an author what is your greatest wish? It must be the same as mine.

There is a ring at the doorbell, you open it and there stands Steven Spielberg holding a copy of your book. He begs you to allow him to make it into a major motion picture and thrusts the contract into your hand together with a cheque for an obscene amount.

If you are a reader, what could be better than telling all your friends that the writer of the latest blockbuster that’s breaking all box office records is your friend on Facebook and you knew them when they were just a poor little indie screaming ‘buy my free book.’

BUY BOOKS

We can all dream.

I’ve mentioned before that when the dinosaurs roamed the earth I wrote for radio and television. This gave me the weird idea that I could write. Once I started with the books, I was soon told my grammar was appalling, my commas were all over the place and I disgraced myself by beginning sentences with adverbs. You don’t have to worry about all that kind of stuff writing for other media. For the next three months, in my rambling blog on the first Monday I thought I would show the difference between the media.

I’ll use a passage from my comedy book as an example. The scene is where The Green Giant, sent by the Red Party to ferment unrest in Charmingdon chooses one of the peasants to lead the revolution.TWEET 2

The printed version:-

“Come,” he commanded, “you will lead your people out of bondage. You will liberate their ills. You will speak for all the downtrodden in Charmingdon.”

“Me!” squeaked the man gazing into the Green Giant’s face. “Well, aw right, if yer want me to. I’ve always done as I’m told.”

The Giant pulled the man to his feet and led him to the front, amid cheers, hand clapping and stamping feet. If there were some peasants who looked a little startled by the Giant’s choice, he failed to notice.

“Here is your leader,” he boomed, waving the man’s arms in the air for him. “Greet your Comrade in Charge.” A renewed burst of cheering ensued and under the commotion the Giant bent to ask his name.

“Englebert, sir,” he replied bowing low.

“No!” exclaimed the Giant, “you don’t make obeisance to me, we are all brothers together, one and the same. We share everything, we are all equal.”

“Ooh,” replied Englebert, “can I have this nice coat then?” he fingered the green jacket.

“No, you bloody well can’t,” snapped the august Party emissary, “and get your filthy paws off it, you’re making it all dirty. You can bloody well earn it like I had to.” He slapped away Englebert’s hand and turned to smile at the audience afraid of what they might think of his behaviour.

“Shame,” sighed Englebert, “it’s such a pretty green.”

The Giant turned back to the crowd and held aloft an imperious hand. The peasants subsided and were quiet.

“Now is the time,” he announced, “for your chosen brother to address you all. I give you Comrade Englebert.”

“I don’t know where they all live,” complained Englebert.

“What’s that got to do with it?” hissed the Giant in a low voice.

“Well, it wouldn’t matter anyway, because I can’t write addresses, I can’t even write me own name,” the peasant protested.

“No, no,” said the Giant, “talk to them, make a speech.”

Englebert smiled. “I can talk all right, nothing wrong with me tongue.” He turned and beamed at the assembly. “Hello,” he said.

“Hello,” they chorused back. Englebert promptly sat down looking very pleased with himself.

The Green Giant hauled him to his feet just as fast.

“You must say more than that,” he hissed. “Tell them what you do.”

“I’m the third-under-trainee front doorstep polisher at the palace,” announced Englebert proudly.

“You do you what?” His new mentor’s eyebrows shot up.

Englebert looked puzzled. “I polish the front doorsteps.”

“And how long, Englebert,” boomed the Giant, “have you been under trainee front uh, step polisher?”

Englebert thought for several minutes. “Oh I dunno,” he said, “as long as I can remember. All my life I ‘spose.”

“This man is typical of the injustice of this class system. He has never been given the opportunity to advance his position, to rise to … er, second-under-trainee front step polisher, to first polisher. Will he ever have the chance of polishing the steps all by himself, maybe to rise to the heights of being in charge of the very front door!”

As the oratory flowed, those who knew Englebert well, wriggled uncomfortably in their seats. They were very aware of his capabilities, or rather lack of them. He was very lucky to hold the job he had, it was only through the kindness of King Charming that the poor dolt was employed at all. He certainly wasn’t any good at polishing anything, they always gave him the bits at the side behind the pillars which wouldn’t show.

“Now Englebert, tell your people for what they will be striving.”

“I don’t know,” he mumbled miserably. Englebert wished this fascinating, well dressed, charismatic visitor wouldn’t use such long words. He really didn’t understand him at all.

The Green Giant gave him a nasty look. “What are your personal plans for achievement?” Englebert looked at him blankly.

“What would you like to be? What would you like to do?” the comrade asked with as much patience as he could muster.

“I don’t know,” Englebert paused. “I’m very happy,” he added.

“No! No, you’re not. You’re not supposed to be happy, that defeats the whole object of the exercise,” exclaimed the giant.

This confused the step polisher. “So you want me to be unhappy?” he asked obligingly.

“No! I’m here to make you happy! Can’t you understand that?”

Englebert couldn’t.

“Look, you’re not happy now, I want to make you happy, but you can’t be happy until after the revolution.”

“Why not?”

“Because that’s the whole point of the struggle, the result of which will make you happy.”

“It will?”

“Of course it will.”

“But why do I have to struggle first?”

“To achieve happiness. True contentment only comes after true suffering.”

“But I told you before,” protested Englebert, “I’m already happy.”

“NO, YOU’RE NOT!!”

“Yes, I am.”

If he’d had any sense, the Green Giant would have given up there and then, and departed for more fertile minds in less fertile lands. But a sense of obstinacy made him stand firm.

“Let’s start with the basics,” he said. “Money. Who would like to double their wages?” One or two hands were raised.

“Come on,” he exhorted, “everyone wants to spend, everyone wants a higher standard of living.”

“What for?” enquired Englebert.

“What for! New clothes, more to eat, better houses, a television in every home.”

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THE RADIO SCRIPT.

CAST: GREEN GIANT, COMMANDING VOICE THOUGH ORIGINALLY A PEASANT 30-40 YEARS. MID RANGE ACCENT

ENGLEBERT: PEASANT, SQUAEKY VOICE, VERY STUPID, CHILDLIKE, EAGER TO PLEASE, 40-50 YEARS BROAD COUNTRY ACCENT

PEASANTS: RAY – FRED – LOCO – SAM – UNEDUCATED LABOURERS. FEW LINES ONLY.

SETTING: HALL, FILLED WITH AUDIENCE OF PEASANTS

act 1 scene 5

RAY:   (FROM OFF MIKE CALLING) Evening peasant Loco, an’ peasant Fred and peasant Sam, you here too?

SAM:  (ON MIKE) Yeah, sneaked off work early well afore midnight.

(ALL SNIGGER AND GIGGLE)

SFX:    F’STEPS AS THEY ENTER HALL, OPEN AND CLOSE DOOR, BUZZ OF CROWD

INSIDE HALL. FEW STEPS SCRAPING OF CHAIRS AS THEY SETTLE DOWN.

SAM:  (LOUD WHISPER) ‘ere ‘e comes now.

SFX:    LOUD MURMURS OF CROWD, LOUD APPLAUSE. SHUFFLING FEET,

SNIFFING, COUGHS ETC HOLD THEN FADE UNDER AS GG BEGINS TO SPEAK

GG:     (ON MIKE) Welcome peasants to this inaugural meeting. Thank you all

for coming.

RAY:   (UNDER) Inorg…? What does that mean Fred?

SFX:    SHUSHING FROM AUDIENCE

GG:     (ON MIKE, LOUD) My name is the Green Giant, and I have been sent by

the Red Party across the border in Monrovia to lead you in your glorious

revolt. I am here tonight to choose a man to lead you in your revolution

for freedom! I am coming to choose a man among you worthy of the

honour of leading you.

SFX:    MURMURS UNDER

FRED: A revolution? Was’ that Loco?

LOCO: Never ‘eard of such a thing Fred.

SFX:    GREEN GIANT FOOTSTEPS, GENERAL CHATTER.

RAY:   Ooo Sam, he’s coming over here! I’m scared.

SAM:  I aint’ leading anything what I don’t understand.

SFX:    GG F’STEPS STOP

GG:     Come, I choose you to lead your people out of bondage. You will liberate

their ills. You, will speak for all the downtrodden in Charmingdon.

LOCO: Whose ‘he got there? I can’t see!

RAY:   He’s chosen … oh no!

LOCO: Ray, who, who’s he chosen?

RAY:   Looks like it’s Englebert. Lawd, what a choice!

SAM:  No, never! Englebert?

ENG:   (SQUEAKS) Me!

GG:     Yes you. Stand up.

SFX CHAIR SCRAPPING ON FLOOR.

GG:     Come up on stage with me now to address your people.

ENG: Well, aw right, if yer want me to. I’ve always done as I’m told.

SFX:    F’STEPS AS THEY WALK UP ON STAGE. LOUD TITTERS FROM CROWD,

SUPPRESSED GIGGLES.

MUTTERS: Never…

MUTTERS: Well really.

MUTTERS: Him!

GG:     I give you your leader! Greet your Comrade in Charge.

SXF:    LOUD LAUGHTER, WOLF WHISTLES AND CHEERS BRING UP, HOLD

GG:     (UNDER TO ENGLEBERT) What’s your name?

ENG:   Englebert Sir.

GG:     (SHOUTING) Quiet, quiet everyone!

SFX:    FADE DOWN CROWD

GG:     Englebert no! Stop bowing! You do not make obeisance to me, we are all

brothers together, one and the same. We share everything, we are all equal.

ENG:   Ooh, can I have your nice coat then? It’s such a pretty shade of green and

looks so warm, I’m, sure it would fit me, if I tucked it up, you are much taller

than me.

GG:     (WHISPERS) No, you bloody well can’t … and get your filthy paws off it,

you’re making it all dirty.

SFX:    LOUD SLAP, RAISE THEN LOWER MURMURS FROM AUDIENCE

GG:     (HISSES TO ENGLBERT UNDER) …

You can bloody well earn it like I had to. (LOUDLY TO AUDIENCE)

Now, is the time for your chosen brother to address you. I give you Comrade

Englebert.

SFX:    LOUD CHEERING, STAMPING FEET, WOLFWHISTLES ETC

ENG:   (UNDER ON MIKE) I don’t know where they all live.

GG:     (LOUD ANGRY WHISPER) What’s that got to do with it?

ENG:   Well, it wouldn’t matter anyway, because I can’t write addresses, I can’t

even write me own name.

GG:     No! You just need to talk to them.

ENG:   Thas’ all right then I can talk, nothing wrong with my tongue. (ON MIKE) LOUDLY ADDRESSING AUDIENCE) Hello.

AUDIENCE:   Hello Englebert.

SFX:    CHAIR SCRAPES ON FLOOR.

GG:     (HISSES UNDER) What are you sitting down for? Stand up you stupid man.

You must say more than that. These are your new faithful revolutionaries,

you must inspire them.

ENG:   Like what do I say?

GG:     Uh, tell them what you do.

ENG:   (PROUDLY) I (BEAT) am very proud to be the third-under-trainee front

doorstep polisher at the palace.

GG:     (HORRIFIED) You’re what!

ENG:   (ONE WORD AT A TIME AS IF EXPLAINING TO A STUPID CHILD) I polish the

front doorsteps of course.

GG:     (CLEARS THROAT – BOOMS) Ah. And how long, Englebert have you been

under trainee front uh, step polisher?

ENG:   (BEAT) Oh, I dunno as long as I can remember. All my life I ‘spose.

GG:     (ADDRESSES CROWD) This poor man is typical of the injustice of this class

system. He has never been given the opportunity to advance his position,

to rise to … er, second-under-trainee front step polisher, to first polisher.

Will he ever have the chance of polishing the steps all by himself, maybe to

rise to the heights of being in charge of the very front door! (FADE AND

HOLD UNDER RAMBLING RHETORIC) Advancement in later years …

opportunity for fulfilment … a new future …

RAY:   (ON MIKE) He better not get promoted, he can’t even do the job what he’s

got.

FRED: (ON MIKE) That’s true, they always gives him the bits round the side as won’t

show. If it was not for our beloved King Charming, he wouldn’t have a job

at all.

SAM: (ON MIKE) This ‘ere Green Giant is loopy I reckon.

LOCO: (ON MIKE) Can’t make head nor tail of a word of it.

SFX:    RESTLESS CROWD, MUMBLING. FADE

GG:     (ON MIKE) Now Englebert, tell your people for what they will be striving.

ENG:   I don’t know, you use all them long words as what I can’t understand …

(TAILS OFF)

As you can see, I’ve added in the extra peasant characters so they can tell us what is going on through dialogue. In radio you only have sound to work with, so it is either voices or special effects. Ha, I found I was a bit rusty, it’s a while since I’ve written a radio script. But I would welcome your comments. Would this work for you if you were listening? Apologies for the formatting which didn’t hold properly on the way into WordPress.

I have not transposed the whole passage but left it there either for you to try it out for yourself, or as a fun read.    myBook.to/UeAfter

 

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Next time, I’ll use the format for a video script, which will be different again.

Till then, take care.

PALACES AND PRINCIPALS

TRAVEL

The next morning in Vienna we set off to visit the Belvedere Palace a complex of palaces built as a summer residence for Prince Eugene of Savoy. Yes, there are two palaces plus an orangery and stables. We walked from the hotel so I was pretty exhausted by the time we got there, it must have been in the hundreds of meters.

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It was a bit puzzling to see two palaces facing each other with gardens in between, I wondered if it was a ‘his and her’ situation but it seems they were hardly occupied as the royal family members had lots of other palaces to choose from. Today they are art galleries, but on one occasion when Maria Antonia married the French Dauphin (later to become Louis XVI) they hosted a ball there for 16,000 close personal friends.  That’s more than I have on Twitter, FB and BookBub combined. You wouldn’t like to pop here and follow me, would you? It will just take a second.

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/lucinda-e-clarke

lower belvedere Photo: Andreas Praefcke - Self-photographed
Photo: Andreas Praefcke – Self-photographed

HISTORY

King Henry also has a problem with his wife Blanche. After 13 years she still hasn’t produced any offspring and Henry is also finding her rather boring in bed, so he has the marriage annulled on the grounds of “por impotancia respective.”  (And no, I’m not going into that here). This is a family blog.

Blanche II of Navarre

Here she is and butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth – poor lady. She was shipped off back to her parents and locked away for the rest of her life. Have I persuaded you yet that you DON’T want to be a princess?

Some say that due to witchcraft the marriage was never consummated, and they subjected poor Blanche to an examination to prove she was still a virgin.  The priests also questioned the prostitutes in and around Sergovia who all attested that King Henry was more than capable. (Well they would, wouldn’t they? Can you imagine the consequences if they said he was rubbish in the bedroom?) Below is a picture of Sergovia a few years later.

sergovia 4

AFRICA FACTS

I was incredibly privileged to have the opportunity of filming in deep rural areas and visiting places where tourists and even locals rarely go and I saw so many examples of the tenacity of the human spirit, especially in the educational sector. Despite having minimal funds these head teachers and staff worked miracles.

I’ve included many of these schemes in my books about my experiences in rural Africa – Truth, Lies and Propaganda, and I will tell you about some over the next few weeks.

Many blogs do state how important a book cover is, and maybe I could improve on this, but these guys were my crew and the book is also for them in memory of the times we spent together – so it’s staying as it is!

Until next time, take care

Lucinda

 

 

VIENNA AND A VICIOUS ANIMAL

TRAVEL

Now because I’ve decided we need more pictures in here, these are two statues in Vienna, but sadly I can’t tell you anything about them.

I thought I would be really mean and pop up a couple more pics of the scrumptious cakes they have in Vienna. Austria is renowned worldwide for its cakes and hot chocolate.

Saturday, we got up early and walked to Karlsplatz and got on the underground for a trip out of town to visit the Schönbrunn (beautiful spring) Palace.

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This is the tiny country cottage that Empress Maria Theresa inherited and then extended it a little (as you do). She enlarged it to 1,441 rooms in the Baroque style making it one of the most important monuments in Austria. It’s been the summer holiday home for the Habsburgs, and it’s very sad they couldn’t play on the beach or swim in the sea as Austria doesn’t have a seaside.

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These days, in fact since the mid 50’s they let any old people wander around it, so we were let in too. The palace reflects 300 years of history, reflecting the changing tastes, interests, and aspirations of successive Habsburg monarchs.

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HISTORY

Over 500 years earlier in Spain, in the castle of Avila, the Dowager Queen constantly tells her young daughter “If your stepbrother Henry dies without heirs, then your younger brother Alfonso will be king.  If Alfonso dies, you, Isabella will become queen.”  This is a little daunting when you’re only 6, but the really scary thing is that the Dowager Queen is terrified that the new king is out to harm the little Princess Isabella. Don’t forget she is mad.Henry IV 6

So, she whisks the kids off to the lonely castle of Aravelo to keep them safe. Princess Isabella has lessons and, under instruction from her mother spends an awful lot of time praying. She spends hours and hours each day on her knees.  Court etiquette is rigid, it’s more nunnery than a royal court.

Aravelo castle 2

AFRICA FACTS

I thought that as all but one of my books is set in Africa I would try and include an interesting fact that you might not know.

Ask anyone which animal is the most dangerous in Africa and they will probably quote one of the Big 5 – lion, Cape buffalo, leopard, rhinoceros and elephant.

However, many local Africans living in rural areas will tell you it’s the Honey Badger.

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Many Africans will tell you they are the fiercest of all the animals. They’re not really badgers and though only 28 centimeters high, they’re notorious for their strength, ferocity, and toughness. They have been known to savagely and fearlessly attack almost any kind of animal when escape is impossible, even repelling lions. They will also attack horses, cattle and Cape Buffalo and their skin is so thick that bee stings and porcupine quills rarely penetrate it. When they attack they are virtually tireless and urban legend has it they will jump up and grab a large animal by the testicles and refuse to let go.

I scripted a video for National Geographic a few years ago, where a couple hand reared a cub before releasing it into the wild when it was old enough to fend for itself. It was one of the best projects I have ever worked on.

Finally, a quick reminder about my books with this advert.

WANTED READERS 27 MARCH 2018

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lucinda-E-Clarke/e/B00FDWB914/

Till next week, take care.

Lucinda

 

LITTLE PRINCESS AND LAP DANCING

TRAVEL

So, we are still in Vienna. I’ll have to drag this out a bit as we don’t really travel all that much though I would love to go away more. The problem is the difficult people you meet that demand money to cart you about and let you sleep in their hotels and houses that stop us traveling more.

One thing that really struck both of us while in Vienna were the reminders of the last great war. For example, there were these memorials.

We also visited the Jewish Museum which had some excellent videos and I was riveted to the presentations – living history, people talking about their personal experiences. We spent a good couple of hours there, reading letters and stories about the resistance fighters and the concentration camps many of which were located in Austria.  (No photos allowed).

jewish museum vienna
Pi museum exterior By Gryffindor – Own work

jewish memorial vienna 2

This is another reminder for the Victims of Holocaust. Under this square are the excavated remains of a Jewish Synagogue from the Middle Ages, which had seen the tragic end of the Jewish exhaustion during that time.

 

When we got back to the hotel, this was waiting for us on the table. I thought it was a really nice touch.

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HISTORY

Mad queen Isabella Castile

If you remember we are in Spain in the town of Avila population at the time 1451, with 1,285 inhabitants in the province of Avila, Castile and Leon. Now I hope you’re not going to be difficult and ask me how or why it was in 3 provinces – that’s what the book said.

It isn’t an easy or a happy childhood. Little Isabella’s mother, Queen Isabella is mentally unstable.  She has periods of hysteria, and her husband and her children are afraid of her. Her madness is an inherited trait from the royal house of Portugal. (Apologies to the Portuguese – that’s what the book said).

When little Isabella is only 3, her father King John II dies, and he is succeeded by his son Henry from his first marriage.  He becomes Henry, or Enrique IV. It all gets very complicated doesn’t it, but the NHS at the time was not as efficient and people kept dying all the time. (Have you noticed Disney never mentions this fact).

THE LAP DANCING EPISODE

Now I promised you the story of the lap dancing club this week. Besides writing scripts for radio and television I was up for hire for anyone daft enough to pay me to write anything – as you can tell I’ve no morals at all. Hunger and shelter win out every time. But I was a little taken back when I was asked to write a radio ad for a lap dancing club.

I decided to raise the stakes a little here and it went something like this:

“Come to XYZ club and meet Mandy, who is working hard to provide for her poor granny who needs an expensive heart transplant. While she dances close to you (very close) you will be contributing to Help the Aged and making a beautiful girl very happy at the same time.”

“You can also get to meet Veronica, currently putting herself through post-grad school in micro-genetic bionics. She will be happy to chat with you over a bottle of champagne. Make it soon, as she will be leaving once she has been awarded her PhD.”

“You may be able to help Annette, who has no family at all. Sadly, they were all butchered in the revolution in her home country and now she is building a new life for herself. Come along and give her some love and encouragement.”

All lies, of course, I never got to meet any of them, and a guy who frequented the XYZ club told me none were a day under 40 and they’d all been around the block a good few times and looked very much the worse for wear.

I sighed and shamelessly ran all the way to the bank.

My web page – just in case you feel inclined. http://lucindaeclarkeauthor.com

Until next week, take care.

Lucinda

 

 

 

 

I JUST DON’T WANT IT!

Since this is not the first Monday of the month I am a week late for my usual post when I have a little rant or I talk about books and marketing. (You are probably surprised I think about writing about books and marketing – yes?)

Sadly, I now know that I will never be the first person to visit Las Vegas and not put a single coin in a betting machine. It’s been done, but my point here is that I never waste money, and no one on this planet will persuade me to pay for something that I don’t need and don’t want.

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I’ve always had to be careful of the pennies, and I’m tough and unmoved by sellers of any kind. Those who have read my autobiographies will tell you I am super-tough.

set 1 of books

That said, I am wary of all the training and ‘tip orientated’ (not the rubbish kind) emails that drop into my inbox, promising me #1 in all genres within 10 minutes if I only cough up a couple of hundred (You can afford it! We offer monthly payments!).

I understand that some gurus, probably in the US have spent weeks, months, years, decades working out the very, best, persuasive selling techniques. Very few of them work with me. Why?

Firstly, in their excitement and enthusiasm they often treat me like an idiot. OK, so I am an idiot but I keep that a huge secret.

Secondly, I like to know up front exactly what this is going to cost, then tell me the benefits.

Do they? Not a chance. I am treated to a long winded (especially if you add in the ums and ahs) story about how they were broke and in debt before they had this amazing, brilliant, failsafe epiphany and now they’ve just bought a second Maserati for their 3 year old.

By now I’m shuffling my feet. Tell me the cost then tell me the main features of the product/wisdom/information.

Do they?

Not a chance. They waffle on and on and on, often two at a time if they are podcasting and they still don’t get to the point.

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I’ve watched videos on line for all kinds of products and it’s always the same. A lot of them last a full hour by which time I’m screaming up the walls and swinging off the curtains in frustration.

DH and I got caught once, you know those guys in the street offering a free bottle of bubbly to attend the presentation? Seven times I interrupted the hyperventilating salesman to try and speed him up.

“How much are the units?”

“I’m coming to that just now.”

Several more minutes pass as he waxes lyrical.

“Can’t we just jump to the price right now?” He ignores me and babbles on.

“Look, please.” (This is me being patient and polite). “If it’s above a certain figure there is no way we have the spare cash, and so, we are not able to buy one however nice it is.”

“I tell you in a minute.” He rabbits some more. He is not deviating one milimetre from his prepared script.

“But if you jump straight there it will save our time and your time when you could be talking to a prospective customer who does have the spare cash.”

“If you’ll just listen to …”

By this time, I’m ready to jump over the desk and strangle him and it’s building up my resentment to buy big time. I’m getting to the stage where if he offers me a whole condo for $5 I shall tell him it’s too expensive.

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And then there are the book blurbs – and we all know what we should put in those.

“As Carin is stalked by an unknown …. Can Matthew save her in time?”

“She yearns for love but could this be the one saviour she has been waiting for?”

“Can they discover the murderer before he throws them on the bar-b-que and eats them with a crunchy green salad like he’s done with his other victims?”

I just want to scream “Of course he/she/they will or no one would be left to tell us about it!”

OK, so I am really strange, it’s true that modern selling techniques just don’t hack it for me. That said I’ll simply put my Amazon author page address and you can visit it or not as you please.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lucinda-E-Clarke/e/B00FDWB914/

Tell me I’m not alone! Does the above get right up your nose as well? (Now you weren’t expecting a phrase (or is it a clause with a verb in it?)  of such literary genius from me were you?)

Till next week when I will be back with the travels and history and the tale of the lap dancing club – take care.

 

REINS AND REIGNS

We were drawn back to the Hofburg like moths to a flame. Looking at the size of it, I was amazed to read later that the Royal Palace in Madrid is even larger, though it certainly didn’t look like it to me. The Hofburg is also home to some very special horses, the ones that perform in the Spanish Riding school.

The ancestors of the Lipizzan horses can be traced back to AD 800 when Barb horses were brought into Spain by the Moors. In the 16th century, both Spain and Austria were ruled by the Habsburgs and Emperor Maximillian II brought a few of them to Austria and his brother established a stud to breed them. All Lipizzaner horses are descended from 8 original stallions and are very good at haute école or ‘high school’ classical dressage movements, with stylized jumps and other movements known as the ‘airs above ground.’ (They jump incredibly high and seem to float around in the sir waggling their hooves).

One other interesting fact is that Lipizzaner horses are born black and go a lighter shade each year. (In horsey language you never have a white horse, it’s always called a grey).

They stable the horses and have a full-sized riding school within the Hofburg building complex.

We didn’t go to the show, as we’d seen the performance several times before near Johannesburg where they also have a stud and give shows to the public on Sunday mornings.

They look so angelic, but one bit me while touring the stables in South Africa, we’d been warned they can be very bad tempered, even if they can hop and jump around very nicely.

HISTORY

Over many months I have posted about every king and queen of England starting from the very first king whose name I’ve quite forgotten. I’m a little nervous that if I say the wrong thing then I might be had up for treason – although there have been some amazingly critical programmes on television recently which ‘lift the lid’ on the nefarious activities of the royals and their bad behaviour. The Queen at Madame Tussauds, London

However, they have not found any fault with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II who at 66 years is the longest living monarch in the world. What is most amazing is that not once, in all those years have we seen her cough, sniff, scratch an itch in a personal place, pick her nose or do anything that wasn’t 100% ladylike. I wish I knew how she does it. Does she have special underwear that never wrinkles? Or special medicines that ensure her nose doesn’t run or allow her to sneeze in public?

She must be the nearest thing to a perfect human to ever grace this planet.

Next week in the history section I shall be telling the story of another great Queen. I have a few to choose from, any preference? Leave a comment.

ADD BREAK

I just wanted to share with you the fabulous news that Unhappily Ever After was the solo medallist in the New Apple Literary Awards for Excellence 2017 in the humour category.  (Love that excellence bit!)

2017 NEW APPLE AWARDS MEDAL AMedal1000x1000

AND,

the third book in the Amie series Amie: Stolen Future was the solo medallist in the New Apple Literary Awards for Excellence 2018 in the Action & Adventure category.

A huge thank you to all their kind judges whoever they are 😊

You can find both on my web page

http://lucindaeclarkeauthor.com

or my Amazon page

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lucinda-E-Clarke/e/B00FDWB914/

As regular readers may have noticed every Thursday I host a guest blog. I am fully booked for March but no one earmarked for April. No publicity is bad publicity, so if you would like a feature, please email me lucindaeclarke@gmail.com   or lucinda@lucindaeclarke.com   or you can pm me on Facebook.

Till next week, take care.