Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Reflection is the eighth and last of the short stories in Part 2 of Welsh Cakes: Book of Short Stories. Jane Peters, a teenager, is not part of the "in" crowd and longs to be. The "in" crowd is a group of popular girls who are pretty, fashion conscious, and made up of qualities that Jane feels she does not possess. Jane is envious of them and particularly of Amanda Graves. She is everything that Jane wants to be and is not. During the summer holidays she practices looking in the mirror and making herself look like Amanda. She seems to have magical powers and, by the end of the summer, she is able to go back and fore from the likeness of Amanda to the likeness of herself. When she gets back to school she attempts a switch with Amanda and is successful. This experiment results in some strange happenings, and opens Jane's eyes to another side of Amanda's life, which she little expected. In the end she learns that not all one sees is all there is to know. She becomes more tolerant of others and promises to use her magical powers only for good.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


This seventh short story in part two of my book Welsh Cakes: Book of Short Stories, has snow and winter as its setting once again. Tom and Joyce had been in love ever since they first met at the Sunday School picnic many years before this snowy winter's day. Their joining together in marital bliss was thwarted when Joyce's widowed mother was in need of care at home. Joyce's brothers deemed her to be the logical choice to fulfill this necessity. Tom, meanwhile, married another woman as he couldn't see any end in sight of Joyce's commitment to her mother. His marriage was not a happy one, however, as he really was still in love with Joyce and couldn't forget her. The seed for this story grew out of an old run down house on the street where I lived in Toronto a number of years ago. "Tom now observed the brittle curls of green paint clinging to the wooden siding as if in a desperate attempt to cover the mottled purple-blue-grey of earlier paint jobs lying beneath; this house has seen better days, he thought. The metal eaves trough looked like an elongated colander and was no longer able to channel water to the downspout. Icicles had formed at the roof's edge and dripped in the morning sun." Tom's wife had divorce him and left him free to pursue Joyce when her mother departed this world. Tom's opportunity to approach Joyce came when a snow storm provided him an excuse to shovel her driveway. Whether Joyce would be intereste in his advancements or not remains to be seen.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Snow Globe

The Snow Globe is today's story, and is the sixth story in Part Two of Welsh Cakes: Book of Short Stories. This is a Christmas wishes granted story. Amanda, an eight year old, wishes that her parents would stop drinking and stop fighting but there seems to be no hope of this happening anytime soon. Amanda is happiest when she is with her grandmother. Today, they are to spend time together at the shopping mall where Amanda will have a visit with Santa Claus despite her father's express instructions to the contrary. It is his position that she is too old for Santa Claus now and, in any case, there is no money for presents. Are we ever too old for the magic of Santa Claus? Are we ever too old to expect miracles to happen? Through the gift to Amanda of a snow globe from Santa Claus on the occasion of her visit to him, and through a circuitous route, Amanda's hope for a happy family and a happy Christmas may still become a reality.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas Gift

In this fifth short story in part two of Welsh Cakes: Book of Short Stories, we find Amy Johnson hurrying to get to Muskoka on Christmas Eve to join her husband Michael and daughter Joan at their cottage. A few years previously, Amy had insisted on going back to work after feeling trapped in a family situation that required her to stay at home and look after Joan following a tragic illness. When Joan went into remission, Amy saw her opportunity to escape from the drudgery and endless sacrifice she felt at home by searching for a job in the work-a-day world. Michael had difficulty in understanding Amy's need to get away from home and the marriage was in danger of falling apart. To make matters worse, an office relationship was building up and tempting Amy into a fantasy world. Her trip to the cottage that Christmas Eve became a near tragedy when dreaming of another life that might be hers, Amy became distracted on snowy remote country roads and her car careened into a snow bank. With no possibility of getting the car back on the road and the cold and snow increasing, Amy now saw her family as her anchor and didn't know whether she would have the chance to put things right with them. When a light appeared in the sky she thought her end had come. "Amy had read about the light and the tunnel that was part of the experience of dying and she yielded to its radiance, giving herself up to the angel who was guiding her to God. She said a brief prayer, asking God for forgiveness for her past and that he would take her directly to himself. She closed her eyes and relaxed into the Christmas light..."

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Guitar Lullaby

The seed idea of this fourth short story, Guitar Lullaby, in Part Two of Welsh Cakes: Book of Short Stories came from my own memory of falling to sleep listening to my father playing the classical guitar as I fell asleep. My father taught himself to play the banjo and later the classical guitar--he even composed at least one piece for the guitar. The rest of the story is complete fiction and takes place in Muskoka and Toronto, Canada, as well as in Africa. This is a bitter-sweet love story between two young people that ends in sadness. It begins and ends with a child falling to sleep to the music of the classical guitar, "like a child in love's arms."

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Chance of Parole

The third short story in Part 2 of Welsh Cakes is titled Chance of Parole and has a male protagonist called Benjamin Holly. His marriage and his job are less than satisfactory and, though he tries to better himself on the job front, he makes no attempt to improve his marriage situation. His new life as a sewing machine repair man gives him more challenges in his work, which he enjoys, as well as a lot more freedom to meet women who are sometimes very lonely. His philandering lifestyle leads him into a bad situation for which he gets blamed. Whether he was directly responsible for a woman's death or not, sooner or later it is certain that something bad would happen and he would get blamed.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Kodak Image

Kodak Image is my second short story in Part 2 of Welsh Cakes: Book of Short Stories. As the title indicates, there is a photo at the heart of this story. It is in the genre of romance, with our protagonist living on the west coast of Canada where she meets the man of her dreams. When he leaves the area, our main character follows him, first to Ottawa, the capital of Canada, and then venturing to the rugged mining north of Ontario where she loses the love of her life. She returns to Ottawa where she leaves the world for convent life--she leaves the world but takes the photograph of Pierre with her. She cannot forget him and eventually leaves the convent, returning to the world and to the Province of British Columbia where her romance first began. She marries the doctor in whose office she worked as a nurse all those years ago. She marries the doctor, works for him, but still holds on to the Kodak Image of the one she cannot let go from her heart.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Blueberry Wine

Blueberry Wine is the first of the short stories in Part 2 of Welsh Cakes: Book of Short Stories. Part 2 consists of eight short stories with differing genres and protagonists of varying ages and dispositions.

Blueberry Wine is about a husband and wife of senior years who are less than tolerant of one another. The husband's hobby is making home-made wine while his wife, who is wheel-chair bound, enjoys drinking it.

Harry, the husband, longs to be free of the restraints of his unhappy marriage and devises a plan to do just that through his wine making hobby.

Writers store up many incidents in their memories over the years, incidents that can be pulled out from the grab bag and inserted in the story for a little colour. In this story the protagonist's name of Harry begged me to have a canary as Mona's pet bird. This from a friend's work-place tale of a co-worker named Harry whose wife phoned him in great distress crying, "Harry, Harry! I just sucked up the canary in the vacuum cleaner!"

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Holy Clothes

This is the ninth and last story about Gwen in Part One of Welsh Cakes: Book of Short Stories. It is about Gwen as a young adult who longs to give herself completely to God and enters a convent. Thes story shows her desire to be a holy person and the struggle she goes through to live the life she thinks God wants from her. Wearing the nun's black habit makes her look holy and assists her in her aspirations. We see Gwen through her postulancy and novitiate years; into her temporary and then her final vows. Her struggles continue and she must decide whether it is God's will for her to live in these cloistered walls, or whether she should leave and find a means to holiness elsewhere. Why not buy the book to find out what she decides.

U.K. available at

U.S.A. available at and

Canada available by contacting author at

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Boat Ride

The background to this story in part one of Welsh Cakes: Book of Short Stories is a ride in one of the vessels that launched the British soldiers onto the shores of Normandy, France in an offensive against the Germans in the Second World War. The ocean going vessels were nosed onto the beach and the end of each vessel then dropped to form a ramp from which the soldiers disembarked and rushed on shore where they engaged in battle with the enemy. Years later, ordinary people were given a chance to see and experience some of what the soldiers went through by taking a ride on one of these vessels. My father took my brother and me on this vessel. I couldn't swim and was afraid of the water so I was very nervous about the boat ride. This story gives honour to our solders who went through this dreadful war experience in which their courage, bravery and desire to save their country overcame the fear that they must have had during these dreadful times.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Wales is a country where it rains a lot. The sheep graze on the lush green hills, the grass growing thick from all the moisture in the air.

It is also said that the moist air contributes to the good singing voices of the Welsh people and thus gives rise to the many choirs throughout the country.

This story, Umbrellas, begins and ends in the rain--rain and umbrellas form the bookends of this sad story.

Children understand more about illness than adults give them credit for; they also support their parents and try to spare them from signs of their own suffering by hiding their feelings.

" 'Don't worry, Gwen.'
Gwen smiled at her mother. She did worry, but she didn't want her mother to know.' "

Gwen shows a happy exterior while hiding her sadness deep within.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Broken Bottles

Memories of a silly quarrel between myself and my best friend sparked this story of Broken Bottles in Welsh Cakes: Book of Short Stories. Gwen goes off in a huff after her friend Betty won't let her play with her new doll. She joins up with a group of local boys and plays house with them. The boys soon get bored with this game and decide that they will teach Betty a lesson for quarreling with Gwen. They decide to throw bottles at her. Gwen knows that her loyalties lie with Betty and rushes off to save her from the boys' attack.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bread and Butter Girl

The years following the Second World War were simple times. There was food and clothes rationing so we didn't get much in the way of cakes, candies or jam. We, as children, didn't miss it much--we got everything we needed and we were given the best of what was available. It was the parents who put their needs on hold for us and it was the mothers who had to make sure the meat, sugar and butter rations were managed well enough so that the family could eat and be nourished.

A birthday or Christmas party was truly rare though, sometimes, a hotel or a business would put on a special do at Christmas. As a child, I don't remember worrying about it; I enjoyed what I had and didn't miss what I didn't have. Everybody was in the same position as everyone else.

I didn't have older sisters but I did have girl cousins and was the recipient of hand-me-downs in the clothes department. My mother used to make my clothes but, with the rationing new material for new clothes was in short supply.

The rain water barrel was a good source of soft water. The water that came out of our taps was hard and it was not easy to get a lather for good washing of clothes, hair or body. The rain water was soft and great for washing; we took good care of it and loved the silky feel it gave to our hair when we used it for shampoo night.

We didn't have much in those days but we didn't feel deprived. We enjoyed the special treats we had and enjoyed everyday living as it came.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hens and Adders

The title for this fourth short story in my new book, Welsh Cakes, sounds a little strange. The background for the title comes from the middle of the story, which is actually about the celebration of the Welsh patronal festival, St. David's Day, which occurs on March 1st.

The Welsh national anthem is "Land of my Fathers"--in Welsh, "Mae Hen Wlad f'yNhadae". In the story, the English speaking children take the Welsh words and turn them into the sing-song nonsense of "My hen laid an adder; hen laid an adder."

The story expands on the St. David's Day celebration with its half-day holiday and entertainment of music, song, and words, along with its emblems of daffodils and leeks, and the Welsh traditional costume with the woman's tall black hat.

The typical childhood teasing portrayed in this story is not malicious only fun-loving on a happy, carefree holiday.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Up the Mountain

The background to this third story in the book of short stories, Welsh Cakes, is my own memory of Sunday evening walks with my father and my brother. We would walk for miles while my mother got some time to go to the Sunday evening service and had a little respite from her care of us children.
The photo above shows the ferns that I speak of in the story.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Water Baby

The second story in Welsh Cakes, my new book of short stories, is called Water Baby; as promised here is a little behind the scenes information about this story.

These short stories about Gwen, the Welsh girl, draw on childhood memories of long-ago times. Water Baby recalls the time of the outdoor wash house with its large laundry tub for soaking soiled items and its washboard for scrubbing of really dirty clothes. There were lots of red, raw knuckles after the washboard use!

The wash house held a large boiler in which the water was heated by gas. The clothes were put in the soapy water and swirled about with a long stick. A blue agent was added to the soapy water to give the whites an extra brightness.

When the washing part was finished, the laundry was transferred to the tub to be rinsed before going through the wringer or mangle, as we called it. As much water was wrung out of the laundry before it was hung on the line so that it wouldn't take too long to dry.

Wash day was literally an all day job and usually took place on a Monday. One hoped for no rain so that the drying process wouldn't be impeded.

The cold, damp outdoor wash house is a key part of this story and is a place where Gwen learns a sad life's lesson.

The story culminates on Friday's bath night, the bath that took place once a week in the galvanized tub in front of the kitchen fire.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Proof Copy of New Book Arrived

The proof copy of my short story book Welsh Cakes arrived in the mail yesterday. It is fine and I will now get it into general circulation on where I published it. I am pleased that it is finally here and in six to eight weeks time it will also be up on Amazon and other internet book sellers.
This is the third book that I have published with Lulu and this time I have given it an ISBN so it will be more accessible. I will keep you posted.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Air Raid Wardens

The Keeper of the Biscuit Tin, the first story in Welsh Cakes: Book of Short Stories, makes reference to Air Raid Wardens who were a very important part of Britain's defense in WW2. After dark they would patrol the streets and make sure there were no chinks in the blackouts. Our windows had to have tightly sealed blinds after dark so that no light showed through to attract enemy planes. If light did show through, the air raid warden would knowck on the door and make sure you corrected it.

Monday, August 24, 2009

South Wales

In South Wales, where I was born, Welsh Cakes were known as South Wales cakes. In many homes they were made any time there was a large family gathering or for any special occasion.
At the time of WW2, when the first of the short stories in Welsh Cakes took place, there wasn't much baking because of war rationing.
The title of the first story is, "Keeper of the Biscuit Tin", and there is a paragraph in that story that says, "Gwen and her grandmother were given the honor of being keepers of the biscuit tin. The biscuits were baked with butter and sugar saved out of the family rations for just such an occasion as this, and kept hidden from Gwen's sweet-toothed father who would eat cake for breakfast if he could get it."
Stay tuned for more background on the stories.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Welsh Cakes

Well, here I am starting my blog for my new book. I am waiting for my newly published book to arrive. The title is Welsh Cakes. It is a book of short stories. No! It's not a recipe book though there is one recipe to be found within its covers. Yes, you've guessed it--it's a recipe for Welsh cakes.
I'll be writing more over the next few days and hope to have good news about my book's arrival soon, what it's all about, and how you can get hold of a copy.