VIDEO FORMATS

As promised, this is how I would lay out a video script for the same scenario as last week’s radio play. I’ve taken the part where the Green Giant chooses Englebert, the third under trainee front doorstep polisher at King Charming’s Palace to lead the happy peasants against their royal masters. He’s a cute friendly fellow five and a half short of a six pack.

You may notice that there are no descriptions as such, simply what you see and what is said. I have battled with the ‘show don’t tell’ as a result after writing hundreds of scripts. Writing novels is so very different and I’ve still got a lot to learn.

THE BOOK

“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.

THE VIDEO SCRIPT

 UNHAPPILY EVER AFTER  –  VIDEO SCRIPT

SCENE: PEASANTS MEETING IN HALL
 SHOT                             VIDEO                                             AUDIO
1. CU OF GREEN GIANT PULL BACK AS HE WALKS DOWN FROM STAGE
2. REVERSE ANGLE FROM ENGELBERT’S POINT OF VIEW, SHOW GG GETTING LARGER AND MORE THREATENING WITH DOMINANT SHOT.
3. GREEN GIANT PAUSES, LOOKS AROUND FOCUSES ON ENGLEBERT GG Come! you will lead your people out of bondage. You will liberate their ills. You will speak for all the downtrodden in Charmingdon.
4. CUT TO CROWD LOOKING VERY PUZZLED. SOME LEAN AND WHISPER TO NEIGHBOURS SFX CROWD: MUTTERING
5. CU OF ENGLEBERT LOOKING VERY WORRIED ENG:  Me!
6. CUT TO CU GREEN GIANT LEANING OVER HIM INTENSE EXPRESSION GG: YES
7. GG PUTS OUT HAND AND GRASPS ENG BY THE BACK OF HIS JACKET.
8. CUT TO 2 SHOT ENG CRINGING ENG: Well, aw right, if yer want me to. I’ve always done as I’m told.
9. GG HAULS ENG FROM STOOL AND FROGMARCHES HIM TO STAGE
10. CUTAWAYS TO SHOW CROWD LOOKING APPALLED ODD CALLS: Go for it Englebert

See how important you’ve become

Go man go!

11. PAN ROUND CROWD WHO BEGIN TO STAMP AND CATCALL AND WHISTLE. You be famous now!

Yeah you lead us in this …

12. GG TURNS ENG TO FACE THE CROWD STILL HAS A FIRM HOLD ON HIM
13. QUICK SHOT OF ENG LOOKING TOTALLY BEMUSED. HE DUCKS DOWN AS IF TO RETURN TO SEAT. GG: (Hisses) Oh no you don’t!
14. SHOT FROM REAR OF HALL AS GG ADDRESSES THEM – ENG IS TRYING TO DUCK DOWN BEHIND HIM GG: Here is your leader
15. GG TURNS ROUND DRAGS HIM FORWARD AND HOLDS UP HIS ARM
16. CUT OR PAN TO CROWD CHEERING WILDLY, SEVERAL SNIGGERING
17. TWO SHOT OF GG WHISPERING TO ENG GG: What is your name?

 

18. ENG BOWS LOW TO THE GG ENG: Englebert, Sir.
19. GG GRABS HIM AND HAULS HIM UPRIGHT GG: (LOUDLY) No! You don’t make obeisance to me, we are all brothers together, one and the same. We share everything, we are all equal.
20. ENG HUGE SMILE REACHES OUT AND FINGERS GG’S GREEN COAT ENG: Ooh, can I have this nice coat then?
21. CU GG LOOKS DISGUSTED
22. SIDE SHOT AS GG ANGLES AWAY FROM THE AUDIENCE AND BRUTALLY SLAPS ENG’S HAND OFF HIS COAT. GG: No, you bloody well can’t, and get your filthy paws off it, you’re making it all dirty. You can bloody well earn it like I had to.
23. 2 SHOT OF CROWD AS THEY PEER TO SEE WHAT’S GOING ON
24. CU ENG LOOKS SAD ENG: Shame. It’s such a pretty green
25. GG TURNS TO AUDIENCE AND SMILES BEATIFICALLY HOLDS HAND UP FOR QUIET SFX: FACE DOWN CROWD
26. CU GG Now is the time for your chosen brother to address you all. I give you Comrade Englebert.
27. CU ENG LOOKING TOTALLY MISERABLE TURNS TO ADDRESS GG ENG:  I don’t know where they all live

You must know by now how ‘untechie’ I am so the columns are not the correct width, but I fiddled for ages and this is the best I can do.  There would be a column for timing if you were shooting a documentary that had been pr-scripted as you work to seconds in broadcast, but for a drama you would have a good idea about length from rehearsals.

For interest, an average 46 minute script (that would air for an hour allowing for add breaks) could be easily 10 thousand words.

Just in case you would like to read more, Unhappily Ever After can be found here.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DPVB4M8

UAE WITHOUT BORDERS

I have news to share but that will have to be next week, this is quite long enough!

Take care

Lucinda

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

 

UEA PB+K squared clear bg small

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

Till then, take care.

I’M ONE ARE YOU?

First week of the month, so it’s time for my usual rambling thoughts. A while ago I gave an after luncheon talk entitled ‘The Golden Age’ – when was it? Well from a British point of view it was the Baby Boomer generation into which I was born. I thought I would share it with you, and although it refers to Britain, I’d love to hear from people living in America if they see any parallels. I admit to being amazed by some of the information I dug up while researching.  (Taken from my notes, so not in full English sentences as I didn’t want to make this post too long).

Children of the Golden Generation

I asked the audience when they thought this was – a couple guessed it was the wrinkly generation. Before that:-

The Silent generation was born 1928 – 1945WW II BRITAIN

They mostly remembered WW2 and were the children of those who’d experienced two world wars.

Used to hardship, a simpler life, yet suffered in silence esp re PTSD neither understood nor recognized.

1945-6 dawned the brave new world.

Pop of UK    49,000,000

House £620 = in today’s money £24,000

Car £310 = £12,000 today

Wage £248 = £9,600 today

Bread was 5d a loaf.

Few high points of those times.

Ist international flight from LHR to Buenos Aires

1st UN General Assembly

Alistair Cooke’s 1st Letter from America

TV licences introduced

BREAD RATIONING 1946

Bread rationing introduced – many items still in short supply and coupons needed

Intro of Family Allowance

School Milk

Free 1/3 pint school milk

Have a Go with Wilfred Pickles + Women’s hour on the radio

Lifting of the prohibition of married women in the Civil Service

Intro of the Bush Bakelite radio

No National Health – 2 years later

Only 58% of dwellings had inside bathrooms.

So, Brave New World and untactfully this generation produced the bulge – population explosion – later not enough schools.

Determined to give their kids what they’d never had – but there was little personal and private communication with them

They gave birth to the Baby Boomers those born 1946 – 1964

Jump 10 years to 1956  BB’s still under parent’s thumb

Pop of UK    51,406,000 extra 2 ½ m

House £2,150 – £48,500 today almost 4 times as expensive

Car £720 – £16,216 today had doubled

Wage £526 – £11,850 today also doubled approximately

Bread was 9d a loaf.

Take stats as estimates as differed in research.

british shop 1950's

Leap further forward into the 60s and the BB are becoming more independent. We are probably a huge disappointment to the Silent Generation.

We had no conception of what our parents sacrificed, we remembered nothing of the horrors of war which deeply scarred our elders.

We were too busy forging a new world that must have seemed totally alien to them – we had money to spend and spend we did, on records, clothes, make-up. Many old rules went out the windows. Mini skirts showed knees and a whole lot more. Us BB’s had our own designers like Mary Quant and your mother wouldn’t be seen dead shopping in Carnaby Street and your Dad moaned about the winkle pickers and drainpipe trousers. (take a bath in new jeans to get them tighter?)

CARNABY ST

The teens and early 20s spent, spent, spent on clothing, entertainment, personal care, events and concerts, books, food, and furniture.

There was flower power, commune living (oh the shame of unmarried people co-habiting), Top of the Pops with groups like the Stones and Beatles scruffy ruffians who didn’t wear suits! Radio Caroline b’cast the top 10 hits illegally offshore.

beatles

The Mods and Rockers hit the news as another example of our decadent generation.

1964 saw the 1st Jackie magazine popular among girls, the first edition of the Sun – 1st undercover shopping centre – the last executions in Britain –

Crossroads premiered on TV for the 90% of the population that now had telly. It brought the world into the home for the first time.

EARLY TV

Items that were originally made to last became disposable – remember the 21st b’day watch or cigarette lighter? Plastic exploded onto the scene changing everything. It was the throwaway society. Washing machines and fridges were must-haves.

1966

Pop of UK    54,744,000 extra 3 m plus

House £3,620 – £61,000 today up 1 ½ times

Car £950 – £16,000 today come down a fraction

Wage £891 – £15,000 half as much again

Bread was 9d a loaf approximately the same.

 In the meantime, without us noticing it Generation X was born 1965 – 1980 but they were still under control.

But we were prospering. We benefitted from the free NHS, free tertiary education, often with bursaries, even if we had to (heaven forbid) pass exams. Most jobs were secure if you kept your hands to yourself and didn’t raid the till, you were ensconced until retirement, and your final salary index linked pensions. For entrepreneurs, although there was some red tape, it was less likely to strangle you.

Property prices were booming and if you bought and sold carefully you could make a killing. Council houses were put on sale.

The BB saw house ownership as a priority and were keen to leave home as soon as possible – to avoid ‘what time do you think this is coming in at all hours?’ after all it was the permissive generation with little fear of getting pregnant due to the pill.

But – probably the rot set in in 1966 when Barclays intro 1st credit card. To that date if we didn’t have the money, we couldn’t buy it – we did without! We learned how to save for what we wanted and we valued it all the more.

credit cards

Yes, we had to borrow to buy our homes but by the end of the 60s homeowners = #renters. But we didn’t take it as a right, it was something to strive and deposit save for and the grovelling to the bank manager or building society – those safe, solid, dependable institutions whose employees you respected. (wait for hysterical laughter to die down)

Barclays held the monopoly on CCs till 1972 – it was referred to as the card in a land fit for heroes.  Mind the BBs did precious little fighting unless they had joined the armed forces. There has not been one major war in Europe in 72 years – possibly the longest European peace?

The boom was still a thing of the future in 1960s but house prices doubled 1950-70 and in 1970-3 doubled again in 3 years.

(That’s when I left UK.)

BRITAIN 1970'S

The Golden Generation – the BBs

We re-defined what it means to be young, middle aged and old. We did not want to be like our parents – previously the 65+ were old – now we call it later life, or the 3rd age.

Generation X – 1965-1980 grew up to a very different life and the Millennials – the me, me me/Snowflake generation from 1981 – 2000 are generally pretty dissatisfied with life – mind the population has soared to 66,323,974 as of 11th November 2017 – last Sunday. There is less space, less money, fewer opportunities.

House £239,794 today

Car £10,635 – £12,715 today

Wage £26,500 pa today            

Bread is now 96 pence a loaf

So, what do we buy now we’re in our golden years?

3 holidays a year, 2 w/e away and 17 day trips.

We eat out – a lot, improve our houses, maybe buy a second pad in the sun.

We have fun, spend more on leisure than boring essentials. Some retired in debt the average stats for that was £34,000, but mostly from interest only mortgages and pension pay-outs settled those.

Many of us have become the bank of Gran and Grandad, where few of us had parents who were able to help us.

And most of us expect to leave something behind. A mad few, start a whole career, mine is …..  And at this point I just ‘happened’ to mention my books in a very casual way to anyone who was still awake – so I guess I should mention them here. 😊

ALL AMIE BOOKS OCT 2017

set 1 of books

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

Until next time, take care.

Lucinda

PANDAS AND PLANTS

TRAVEL

Now you may remember that Austria, with its capital Vienna, does not have a coastline, so sadly the Habsburg royal family could not have a seaside cottage.

But, nothing daunted, they decided to have another attraction instead. Can you guess what it is? A zoo! As the Holy Roman Emperor Francis I set it up in 1752 it’s the oldest continually operating zoo in the world.

We loved it and spent lots of time there particularly as they have giant pandas.

IMG_4959

The lady panda is called Yang Yang and there are three males Long Hui, Fu Long, and Fu Hu. What a lucky lady! And she must be a happy panda as in August 2007 Fu Long was born the first by natural insemination – and then 3 years later Fu Hu was born by natural mating. Yet another baby Fu Bao arrived in 2013 and then twins Fu Feng and Fu Ban.

IMG_4958

They were quite difficult to see, as they liked hiding in the leaves and DH tried to convince me that unless I was waving particularly nice bamboo leaves at them they wouldn’t wake up and come over for a chat.

HISTORY

The Dowager Queen, little Princess Isabella’s mother is sure that King Henry is out to get her children, she is quite paranoid about it, so she whips the two youngest off to another dark, damp and drafty castle in Aravelo to keep them safe.

Aravelo castle 2

The 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. Her mother is so cruel she won’t even let her meet up with friends at the local shopping mall.

AFRICA FACTS

Last time I left off as we were filming in deep rural Africa on a project that was excavating the Devil’s Claw. A pharmaceutical company in Germany had tested the root and found it had benefits for arthritis so they ordered supplies from this rural community.

I accompanied the women who scoured the ground then pounced and dug up a root, taking only part of it before covering it over with soil again to continue growing – very ecological and sustainable. What astounded me is they seemed to know exactly where the roots are – the dry, sandy surface of the ground gave no indication that a root would be in exactly that place yet each time there it was a couple of inches below the surface.

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Not only had they prepared an ‘interesting’ lunch in the village hall for me and the crew they had also written and produced a play for us to shoot. A local villager consulted the witch doctor who (not surprisingly) prescribed Devil’s Claw for all his ailments. When we left they handed us bags full of roots, which DH tried later following the precise instructions, but from the look on his face, it didn’t taste nice at all.

All my books (except Unhappily Ever After my Fairyland comedy) are set in Africa which must be the most fascinating continent on earth.

AMIE 1 JAN 28 2018

You can find them all on my author page:

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

or my web page: http://lucindaeclarkeauthor.com

Till next time, take care

Lucinda

CHURCHES AND CINDERELLA

TRAVEL

Now I’ve had to scramble looking for where I left off before Christmas and the Best Reads posts, and yes, DH and I were in Vienna. In my usual boring way, I had sussed out what there was to see and do, making copious notes before we left. We didn’t hang around but walked into the centre of town to the opera house.

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We meandered up the main central pedestrian way – the Stephansplatz and visited St Stephen’s Cathedral, an imposing Gothic edifice which was begun around 1350 or so, so it’s quite modern as you can see!

I was eagerly eying the shops but Dh managed just in time to whisk me into St Peter’s Catholic Church with its impressive dome.

In the middle of the Stephansplatz is this amazing statue. It was commissioned by the Habsburg Emperor Leopold I at the end of the last great plague to hit the city in 1679. It’s probably the most intricate column I have ever seen.

HISTORY

Queen_Elizabeth_the_Queen_Mother_portrait

I recently read a book about Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, written by an insider who painted her as less than loveable, although she won the hearts of the British people.

Without her, George would have struggled as king, a role he certainly never wanted. To begin with, she insisted he have elocution lessons so he would sound posh without stuttering and so, of course, she chose an Australian to tutor him. Makes perfect sense. She was said to be very controlling and very bossy.

ADD BREAK

This week the opening pages of my comedy Unhappily ever After. You didn’t really think that Prince (now King) Charming and Cinderella would live happily ever after did you? Come on, she was from the wrong side of the tracks, and if truth be told, he was a bit of a wimp. The other famous Fairyland characters, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty get a similar treatment. Throw into the mix the Green Giant sent by the ‘Red Party’ to rouse the simple, stupid peasants into revolting against their royal masters and the stage is set for disaster.

(I should mention this book comes with the following warning which is inside the front cover).

This book is not suitable for children, nor is it recommended for adults who are of a gentle, sensitive or nervous disposition. The opinions as stated by the characters are neither politically correct, nor in fact even kind or considerate. The author takes no responsibility for their appalling actions. It should be remembered that it refers to a time before the new laws about correct speech were promulgated. No offence is intended to any race, gender, creed or belief of any persuasion, and as such this narrative should be treated as a work of fiction.

The death of Charming’s parents – they simply adored chariot racing and misjudged that final bend – brought untold wealth to the young prince and power beyond belief. In his hands was the authority to dispose of any or all of his subjects as he saw fit. He was a total autocrat in a land that did not expect to be ruled in any other way. Yet Charming remained his own sweet self. The result was a happy and contented kingdom where each day was as delightful as the one before and would be forever more. Nothing would happen to disturb Charming’s idyllic life or his upright, well‑bred existence – not even his wife.

Of all marriages theirs must have been the most mismatched in the history of time. Everything that Charming was, Cinderella was not. She’d had a hard upbringing, in one of the poorest areas of Charmingdon and she’d never shaken her common accent. She’d been born a peasant and she would die a peasant. Not all the royal trimmings in the world would ever change that. Not that Cinders had ever been seen to make an effort. Since becoming a royal she’d had all the advantages of dancing classes, elocution lessons, instruction in etiquette, even horse riding lessons, but having made it to the top without such accomplishments, Cinderella really didn’t see why she should bother now.

Time had not been kind to the Queen’s figure either. She had a particular fondness for chocolates, toasted marshmallows, cream cakes, doughnuts, waffles, sugar buns – oh let’s be honest – Cinderella had a passion for anything edible. She spent the greater part of her day consuming everything in sight, and as her figure grew outwards, her appetite grew in tandem. She was of average height, with dull, mousy hair, and the fair complexion and freckles to match. Her large bulk made it impossible for her to ever look smart despite heroic efforts on the part of her many dressmakers. As soon as she began to move, her flesh wobbled in every direction, and at the extremity of a pair of very stout legs were the most amazing feet you’ve ever seen. Even she had to admit they were not exactly the most beautiful feet, but, she had a lot to thank them for. She was the only female in the whole land whose foot fitted that slipper lost at the Ball, and that made them the famous feet that had become her trademark. They were always bare. She liked, she said, to wiggle her toes at all times.

Despite all this Charming adored her. In his eyes she could do no wrong. He did not recognize her common behaviour, her faults, her gross appearance, her appalling manners. To him she was perfection incarnate. True, she had a bit of a temper, but everyone has their little foibles and if she possessed an interesting way of expressing her feelings, well, that was part of her enchanting personality.

Cinderella was not so inclined to adore her spouse. The thought of being the most important queen in the land had thrilled and excited her two centuries ago; to get ‘one up’ on those snotty sisters of hers was a dream come true. But it all turned out to be very boring. She began to despise her adoring husband. He irritated her with his goodness, yet it was his very goodness that made it so difficult to be really nasty to him. He failed to understand her snide remarks, her sexual innuendoes, her criticisms. She sat for hours wondering how to free herself from this marriage she had come to loathe. Perhaps she should come straight out and tell him in a language even a four year old would understand. Yes, she’d procrastinated long enough. She’d tell him today, this morning, at breakfast.

Till next week, take care.

(MER)LION AND LEADERS

Once I’d dragged DH out of the fort, we discovered the island was a mini Disneyland. Spotlessly clean, as you’d expect and I was too busy rubber necking to take many pictures.

The cable car stopped at several levels and you could get out and explore at each one.

The merlion is a mixture of a lion’s head with a fish body, used as a promotional symbol by the tourist board. Singapore was originally a fishing village but its original name was Singapura meaning lion city. The other picture is one you may have seen before and I’ll leave you to decide which is which.

UNBELIEVABLE HISTORY

Now it is said that George V didn’t like to sit to have his portrait painted, so he stood up instead. Here he is with his cousin the Kaiser on the left and his cousin the Tsar on the right. Yes, they were all related. And you know who was the common factor!

George probably didn’t think he’d become king until his elder brother Edward (yes, another one) died of pneumonia and the year after that he married the German princess Mary of Tek – a cousin and granddaughter of King George III. She’d previously been intended for big brother Edward so they passed her on so to speak. Honestly, being a princess isn’t all frills, flouncy dresses and dancing at balls, it’s more like the local meat market – aristocratic breeding and good child-bearing hips. Where did Disney get those silly ideas from? Which brings me very neatly to …

BOOKS

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I’ve been tossing up whether to do a follow up to Unhappily Ever After. As it is, it’s a stand alone with all the loose ends wrapped up. It tells the story of how Cinderella decided to get a divorce from King Charming. No one ever questioned how this commoner, from the wrong side of the tracks, would fit into a royal household, and of course, she didn’t. All that protocol was too much for her, the other royals hated her, and she didn’t even produce a male heir only one princess who had a preference for other princesses. I guess my next project will come to me in the shower or other inconvenient place and by the time I’ve grabbed a towel, I’ll have forgotten what it was!

If you feel like a good laugh, here is the link  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DPVB4M8

Till next week, take care.

DRAGONS AND DISASTER

THE TRAVEL STORY

Penang was a nice place, but it was almost impossible to see much. Not from the top of the bus, that was too scary, but because of all the people, you could hardly put a pin between them (well a little more artistic licence here as one of the photos will show).

Altogether we spent 5 hours on that bus and the heat was unbearable as it wended its way down to Butan Ferringhi. Most places were incredibly filthy, the food stalls grungy, the public loos a disgrace and we were bombarded with rap and other raucous music and horrendous traffic jams.

We’d become so used to the row outside, people, car horns and delightful screaming children that I was slow to realize the dragon dancing in a house across the road. So apologies for the blurred pictures, I missed most of it.

HISTORY NONSENSE

Now those of you who are really switched on will have noticed that I’ve hopped back in time a little to tell you more about Bertie. (I’m not too fussed about precision if you’re not). At this point I wish to remind you of my disclaimer as to the accuracy of these lessons and should you fail any exam by quoting from my blogs I take no responsibility whatsoever.

Now just when you were thinking that Bertie was an absolute cad (an old British word for scumbag) you should know that when Lily Langtree became pregnant, Mr Langtree went bankrupt and left her and she was forced to retire from society.

Lillielangtry1ACTRESS

She moved into a small apartment and was astounded when Bertie – (by now called Teddy by most of his friends), knocked on the door.

He proved himself loyal and helped her begin her acting career by introducing her to all the right people. They had ceased to be lovers, but the Prince remained a good friend. That’s not probably quite as his wife Alix saw it however.

 

THE EMBARRASSING PROMO BIT

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I’ve not pushed my comedy book for a while and it’s worth a read, especially if you’re feeling a little depressed. I take you back in time to Fairyland, two hundred years on from that memorable ball, to tell you about Cinderella, now fat, blousy and very, very common. She’s had enough of King Charming and is planning on how to get a divorce. Add to this the elegant and prissie Snow White, married to King Harold who beds anything within reach, and Sleeping Beauty who is making up for lost time and terrorizing her wimpy husband King Augustus who can’t afford to feed the 28 children they’ve already produced. As if all that wasn’t bad enough enter the Green Giant who has been sent to cause a revolution among the happy peasants who are just that – happy.  http://amzn.to/2j26YUd

Till next week, take care.