5th Halloween-Poem Contest

Picture courtesy of: http://preventioncdnndg.org/

It is a great pleasure for me to announce the
5th Halloween-Poem Contest
on ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’.
************************************************

Every author, poet, and reader is invited to participate and deliver a “Halloween-Poem” to my email address: aurorajean.alexander@aol.com, together with their picture and a link to their blog/page.

There are a few rules to follow:

  • Your poem needs a Halloween theme.
  • Your poem needs a minimum of 99 words.
  • Your poem has to be delivered to my email address between October 10 and Halloween, October 31, 2019, 9 pm  Pacific Time.
  • Your poem has to be delivered together with your picture and a link to your blog/page.

Please avoid violence, bad language, and sexual content within the poems. It would be disqualified.

Every poem that meets the rules and is delivered within the deadline will be published here on “Writer’s Treasure Chest” together with the provided picture.

End of this month I will introduce this year’s jury members to you. I am very proud that these authors agreed to be part of our contest.

The contest starts October 10, 2019 06.00 am and ends October 31, 2019 09.00 pm Pacific Time!!

Please, deliver your poem and your picture to my email address within this time frame, neither earlier, nor later. Poems arriving outside these 3 weeks will be disqualified.

aurorajean.alexander@aol.com

We’re looking forward to your poems!
A. J. Alexander

A Kiss – A Memory – A Scene In The Book

It’s been a long, very long time I’ve been kissed the last time. I already started feeling like an old withered shed on the edge of the woods.

But last month, exactly April 18, at about 1 pm, after lunch, I experienced the sweetest, cutest kiss in about ‘a century.’ It wasn’t an ‘intimate’ French kiss, as some would suspect. It wasn’t a long, lustful, greedy ‘smooching,’ nor was it just a peck.

It was a gentle, soft touch of lips, filled with affection and attraction, tender and delicate.

Someone else might think: “Where’s the point? What’s the big fuss about it?”

That kiss, however, didn’t go out of my head. In silent moments I remember it and catch myself wistfully smiling at the memory.

Currently, I’m writing book seven in ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series and yesterday the story turned into a situation where a kiss like that would be just the perfect thing to happen.

But for some reason, I cannot describe what I felt when I got that kiss. I’m at a lack of words for my emotions.

Now I’m lost. I’m writing paranormal romance. In the six books, I wrote for ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series, I described several scenes with wonderful loving and tender kisses – and each one of them is good the way it is.

But in this case, I don’t know how to describe my own experience and wake the feeling I had when I got that particular kiss a month ago.

What am I doing wrong?

Does anyone have a hint or tip for me how to do that? Did anyone try to interlace their own experiences into their stories, and how did you do that? Let me know in the comments. I need your help. Thank you.

P. S. I was asked about the man who kissed me that day – I hope you’ll understand I won’t mention any names here. That’s my secret.

picture courtesy of: pexels.com

Blog Post Achievement On ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’

I was surprised to see once again, how far ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’ has developed. Yesterday I discovered that I got a new achievement ‘award’:

1337 posts published – this is amazing. (Even though I wonder, what the magic number 1337 stands for.)

At this moment I’m surprised, and I’m flattered. I know, without you all, followers, readers and in particular friends, I couldn’t have done that! The guest posts, the ‘Featured Author’ posts, the interviews, promotions and re-blogs; without all those posts, ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’ wouldn’t be what it is.

I want to say ‘Thank you’ to you all for making my blog a success and for making blogging a true adventure for me!

Picture courtesy of: https://www.crosscards.com/cards/thank-you/

 

Don’t Describe, Paint Pictures With Words

Picture courtesy of: https://medium.com/@Reedsy/30-inspiring-writing-quotes-from-famous-authors-ca601bfa5915

When I read this quote I ‘clicked’ immediately with these words; even more since I keep saying that I enjoy painting pictures with words. In my writing exactly that’s what I try to do, even though I’m not always sure it works the way I had planned it.

My back was turned to the door. While I waited for his return, I watched the sparrows playing on the fountain rim while taking quick showers in the droplets which sparkled in the bright afternoon sun.

seems to be better than:

I stared outside waiting for his return. The afternoon sun made the water in the fountain basin sparkle.

I would like the reader to see the sparrows hopping around, rant and rave at each other and still spread the feeling of happiness and joy.

I figure we all had looked out a window once when the weather was beautiful and saw some pond or fountain. Sparrows are almost everywhere, but most of us don’t see them anymore, maybe because they are ‘ordinary.’

Of course, this is only one example of many. I am fascinated by waterfalls in the mountains and I know I’m not the only one. But how many of us see the rainbow over the water in summer, how many see the snakes, turtles, and lizards which can be seen enjoying the sun while still trying to catch the droplets the waterfall bestows on them.

Many people like going for walks. But it seems to be very important to them to permanently stare onto their phones or have someone with them to talk to.

That way they miss the sound of Nature, they miss so many beautiful details.
When I go through the forest, I try to set my steps as quietly as possible as compared to breaking through the woods like a rhinoceros. I watch the sunbeams touching the moss between trees; I listen to the birds singing, I can see the finest art in the form of spider webs between the bushes (and yes, I walk around them. As beautiful as the webs are, the residents scare me to death).

I have the chance to see foxes, squirrels, and deer. One evening I had the chance to watch a huge owl feeding the brood, and I’m still honored to have had that chance.

All these details taught me how to see. And that is what I try to express in my books. Of course, I still work on it, and I’m sure at times it can be better. But I won’t give up.

How is your experience with descriptions and the painting of pictures with words? Let me know in the comments below.


Anton Pavlovich Chekhov was born on January 29th in the year 1860, in the small seaport of Taganrog, Ukraine. He is regarded as one of Russia’s most cherished story tellers. He has produced some hilarious one-acts, but his tragic stories have gained him the name of being one of the major dramatists. Today, he is remembered as a playwright and one of the masters of the modern short story. He was the grandson of a serf and the son of a grocer, whose religious fanaticism caused much of his early years to reside under its shadow. While he was doing medicine in the University of Moscow, he began writing short stories. After graduating in 1884, he worked as a freelance writer and journalist related to comics. He used the money gathered from it to support himself and his family, and by 1886, he had gained wide fame as a writer. Chekhov’s works were published in various St. Petersburg papers, including Peterburskaia Gazeta in 1885, and Novoe Vremia in 1886. The Shooting Party published by him was translated into English in 1926.

In the early part of his career, he mastered the art of one-act and produced some fine pieces. In 1888, he wrote a story, The Bear, in which a creditor pursues a young widow, but later proposes marriage to her after being impressed that she’s agreed to fight a duel with him. In 1889, he wrote The Wedding, which also has a very nice story attached to it, and became an instant hit amongst his fans.

In 1886, he began contributing regularly to St. Petersburg daily Novoe Vremia and that was when he developed the style of calm writing. He was criticized by his opponents because his story lacked social commentary, but at the same time, he was praised by authors such as Leo Tolstoy and Nikolai Leskov.
In 1888, Chekhov was rewarded the Pushkin Prize and the very next year, he was elected a member of the Society of Lovers of Russian Literature. He withdrew from Literature and turned to Science for a while when his play, The Wood Demon failed in 1889. As a part of his doctoral research, he made a trip to the penal colony of Sakhalin, north of Siberia, where he surveyed 10,000 convicts sentenced to life on the island. During the latter half of the year, he traveled all over the word, including places as South East Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, and the Middle East.
In 1901, Chekhov finally married an actress, Olga Knipper, who had performed in his plays. On July 15, 1904, in Badenweiler, Germany, Chekhov died. He is buried in the cemetery of the Novodeviche Monastery in Moscow. (Source: https://www.famousauthors.org/anton-chekhov)

Author Spotlight – Lynda McKinney Lambert

Welcome on ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’.

1. When did you start writing?

I was working on a BFA degree in Painting. One requirement for this degree is intensive writing courses in Art History. I quickly discovered that I loved doing research and writing papers. During the 4 years I took many intensive writing courses in a variety of other subjects in addition to taking every art history course that was offered at the university. When I began a course in poetry, I was hooked for life. I did not have the courage to enter my poetry in the English Department’s literary magazine, but my first publications were my photographs and art works.

When I began work on the MFA degree in Painting, I started getting my poetry published regularly in a variety of literary magazines. Each publication was like winning a prize. I was addicted to getting my work published. I’ve never stopped since that first publication in 1989.

2. What motivates you to write?

I am self-motivated to create art and writing. Creativity is my normal state of mind. I am always thinking about the act of making. I believe some people are makers, from birth. It is intuitive and subconscious in the early years of developing the practice of making.

3. What genre do you write in and what made you chose this particular genre?

Poetry is my primary focus. Excellent poetry is a work of art. It is visual and is an object on a page, just like a painting is on a canvas.
There is such an exquisite beauty I see when writing or reading a good poem! I write exactly how I create art, in layers. This is also how I write non-fiction essays. Non-fiction is my passion. I seldom read fiction. It is not in my wheelhouse.

In my poetry, I take away distractions such as
little words that take up space and are unnecessary. I also remove most punctuation. I want the reader to be a creator and be free to read as she chooses. I don’t put up road blocks and stop signs by using punctuation. The reader will create meaning and be creative in the reading of my poems.

I eliminate every possible word that is not crucial to the finished piece. But, at the same time, I use words that give strong visual pictures of what I am focused on in that piece. I want my reader to see pictures as they read.

4. What is your goal in writing? Do you have dreams where your writing should take you?

My goal is to keep it simple, uncluttered, and unfettered.

When completed, I cast my bread upon the waters, and see what returns.

I create the work, and I send it out to editors for publication.
My work is not complete until it has a reader. The goal is always publication because I want to connect with readers.

I always have dreams and I set my intentions at the beginning of each year. I don’t set goals – I set intentions In January, I choose one word that will be reflective of what I want to do or achieve that year. This year, my One Word is “SHINE.” I’ve done this for the past 5 years, and it works far better than goal setting for me. I also believe and practice, “Dreaming Prayer,” which I talk about in my latest book.

5. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and if yes, how do you deal with it?

I’ve never known what it would be like to have “writers block.” Creating work in writing or art is something I am compelled to do intuitively.
This phrase is not in my vocabulary.

I set my intentions and I follow them throughout the year. Writing is a matter of sitting down and beginning to scribble. The more I think about scribbling the more I like it. This is where it all begins for me as an artist and writer. I scribble my way to content and it is an adventure. Writing is a sport.
I show up for practice.

6. What advice would you like to give new, hopeful authors?

Become like a child again. You already know how to write you just may have forgotten what you already know. Begin to recapture what you knew as a little child. It is all there for you to discover.
Pick up your pen or pencil, or your keyboard, and let your hands begin to fly.
Scribble. Scribble. Scribble.

7. Please, tell us about your work.

My themes are: nature, literature, art, mythology, and the journey of life that we all experience. I am inspired by the creation story and in particular by Genesis 1:14 where God created humankind to be a reflection of Himself. This means, to me, that we humans are image bearers of the Divine, and I search for it when I am writing my stories & poems.

Walking by Inner Vision: Stories & Poems is a collection of stories that are a journey through a year from January through December. Each chapter is a month of the year. Each chapter opens with a poem that introduces the theme of that Month.

My stories are presentations of ordinary as well as supernatural events that happen in the lives of individuals. Intertwined into the stories is the historical context of the place, individual, or history of people such as:

_an elderly woman with Alzheimer’s disease, who is hosting her final Christmas Eve family party at her home
_two sisters who stop on their way home from school, along a rural road, to gather violets.
_a steelworker’s family with 4 children and preparations for their Christmas Day in the 1950s in western Pennsylvania
_a university art professor who taught an unforgettable drawing class

Through my stories and poems, I celebrate the beauty of individual lives

Thank you for being my guest. It was such a pleasure to have you here!!


Who is Lynda?

Lynda McKinney Lambert is a retired professor of fine arts and humanities. She began writing full-time in 2008, after she retired due to profound sight loss. She has Ischemic Optic Neuropathy, and uses adaptive technologies for the blind to create her work. She has not allowed sight loss to define her life.

Lynda’s writings appear in literary magazines, anthologies, and books.
She is the published author of 2 full-length books.
Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage ~ a collection of poems and journal entries, Kota Press, 2002.
Walking by Inner Vision: Stories & Poems, DLD Books, 2017.


Connect with Lynda:

Visit my 2 Blogs:
Website & Blog: Walking by Inner Vision – my Author’s blog
Scan-A-Blog – A quiet Place of Inspiration. We love Art, Nature, Literature

On FaceBook:
My FaceBook Personal Page
River Road Studio Page
Walking by Inner Vision Page
My SCAN-A- BLOG Page
My Author’s Page

Contact Lynda:

riverwoman@zoominternet.net
Address: 104 River Road, Ellwood City, PA 16117


Lynda’s books:

Buy the Kindle book on Amazon – for $3.99
Walking by Inner Vision: Stories & Poems

 

 

 

 

 

Buy the book on Amazon – Click Here!

 

Author Spotlight – Ann Chiappetta

Welcome!

1. When did you start writing?
I began writing as soon as I could read. I drew picture books first, then a diary, and wrote stories with other friends.

2. What motivates you to write?
I am motivated by a creative desire; I used to draw and center my creativity visually. After I lost my sight, I learned to focus on literary creativity.

3. What genre do you write in and what made you chose this particular genre?
I am a poet first; however, I write fiction and nonfiction, too. Writing short stories and essays challenge me the most. I am drawn to writing about the human condition and emotions.

4. What is your goal in writing? Do you have dreams where your writing should take you?
My goal since the printing of my first book in 2016 is to self-publish one book every two years, more frequently, if possible. I am very happy about being able to finally accomplish this goal. When I was younger and struggling with creating good writing, I never thought my words would ever be printed. Over time, as my work was included in journals and other magazines, I realized my dream would come true one day as long as I worked hard enough to achieve it.

5. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and if yes, how do you deal with it?
Yes, I sometimes suffer from a form of it. For me, it is more like I have exhausted myself with a piece of writing and just need to set it on the back burner and allow it to percolate. I haven’t ever had a complete paralyzing form of writer’s block, though — I still write email, reviews, and other projects to keep this from happening. The muscle won’t shrink or cramp if it is stretched and used.

6. What advice would you like to give new, hopeful authors?
Read, write, then read and write some more. The writing muscle has to be developed over time and the investment of practice will pay off as long as the writer is consistent and purposeful. Only the lucky few actually land a traditional book deal. If you write well, have a great literary support system and dedicate yourself to improving the craft, people will notice and read your work. I save each and every email from folks who have read my books and send a note. This is what I love the most, those sincere and meaningful notes from readers.

Thank you for being my guest, Ann. It was a pleasure having you here.


Connect with Ann:

Email: anniecms64@gmail.com
Website: http://www.dldbooks.com/annchiappetta/
Blog: http://www.thought-wheel.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/annie.chiappetta
Twitter: AnnieDungarees


Ann’s Books:

WORDS OF LIFE: POEMS AND ESSAYS
C 2019 by Ann Chiappetta

Buyer’s link: Amazon

About the Book

In this new collection of poems, essays, and flash fiction, the author once again exhibits her ability to write about both the light and dark sides of life. There are numerous poems and stories about nature: its kindness, cruelty, and wonder. There are frank expressions of the sadness and frustration she felt at the progressive loss of her eyesight and a poem about the social isolation that disability can bring. Other pieces, though, sing of joys as diverse as family closeness, the love of dogs, the delights of scents, and the power of the muse. Just as in her first volume of poetry, Upwelling: Poems (2016), there is no fluff here. To read Ann Chiappetta’s works is to feel them deeply, appreciate them mightily, and remember them forever.

From the Introduction

While it is my hope that all the pieces in this book resonate with my readers, I have my favorites. Some of the poems have been previously published; all reflect what lies within. This volume is accented with a few photographs. As I lose the last vestiges of my vision, bringing a meaningful visual array to this collection seems imperative. Finally, dear reader, I want to share the prose that reflects the way I’ve lived my creative life.

If just one poem or essay resonates with you, I have accomplished the purpose. For a moment, as the eye reads and the brain interprets, the reader slips into the shoes of the writer. This is the true spirit of what it means to be creative, open, to offer the emotions in such a way as to give another person the opportunity to appreciate the writer’s experience with the words of life.

 

Upwelling: Poems (2016)

Buyer’s link: Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

Follow Your Dog: A Story of Love and Trust (2017)

Buyer’s link: Amazon

 

Marketing – Soul Taker “on Tour”

 

Lately, I found a link to The Good Ebooks & Books Company online, which offers book ads, free as well as paid ones. I checked it out, and it seems a decently long existing way to advertise my book. I tried it with the free version.

Not even a day after I filled out the form online I got an email which was written politely and friendly, confirming my submission and telling me that they’ll get back to me as soon as possible.

Two days later I received the information that ‘Soul Taker’ is online. Of course, they’re telling me what advantages a ‘premium’ account would have, but I didn’t get the impression they’re telling me: “Either you’ll upgrade or…”

“Good E-Books” connects authors and readers. They placed ‘Soul Taker’ in the middle as a New Release. They set it up with its cover picture, the blurb and linked it to its Amazon page.

https://www.goodebooks.net/releases.html

I will open a free author account with them and see where it will take me. So far I’m happy.

Maybe you want to try it too?

Author Spotlight – Helen & Lorri Carpenter

Welcome!

Thanks! We appreciate the opportunity!

Please introduce yourself.

We’re HL Carpenter, a mother/daughter duo. We write family-friendly fiction from our studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like our stories, is unreal but not untrue.

 

1. When did you start writing?

Helen had fiction published when she was young and she began writing seriously when her job was downsized shortly after her kids left home. A few years later, Lorri decided she also wanted to get serious with her writing, and a partnership was born.

 

2. What motivates you to write?

Researchers might say what motivates us to write is momoamine oxidase A. When we sit down at our computers and jump into a story, mood elevating neurotransmitters fire up, activating our happiness gene. The hours disappear in a blur of joyful contentment.
That’s probably the real reason. We’re certainly not going to admit we write the stories we do because we’re…weird. So let’s just say we like creating worlds that are one twist of the dial away from the expected. Okay, we’re weird.

3. What genre do you write in and what made you chose this particular genre?

We’re multi-genre authors. Our works include fantasy, allegory, satire and mystery. We tend to get bored easily, so switching genres is a great way to keep the ideas and the words flowing. Another advantage is that there’s always something new to learn, because each genre has its own peculiarities.

4. What is your goal in writing? Do you have dreams where your writing should take you?

Our goals change. When we started writing, our goal was to finish a complete manuscript (an entire book, whee!).
When we achieved that, our goal became having an editor respond favorably to our query.
Once that happened, the goal shifted to getting published.
Now…hmmm…let’s see… Oh, yes! Reaching the bestseller list and having a book optioned for a movie is definitely a goal.
After that happens…well, we’ll create the next goal when we get there. 🙂

5. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and if yes, how do you deal with it?

No, we are quite fortunate. We think that’s one of the benefits of writing with a partner.

6. What advice would you like to give new, hopeful authors?

If you have a story to tell, tell it.
Then put the manuscript in a drawer and go study authors whose books you love. Ask yourself what draws you to those stories. Write or type out passages that resonate with you. After a couple of months of immersing yourself in your favorite books, take your manuscript out of storage and read it with fresh eyes. Revise it based on what you’ve learned. Repeat the process at least once more.
And all the while, believe in the wisdom of Dr. Seuss. Oh, the places you’ll go.

7. Please tell us about your work.

Our books span genres, yet they all have signature similarities: a strong, practical, intelligent female protagonist, a steadfast friend or two with a sense of humor, and a supportive if exasperating family or family substitute. They’re all “clean” too. You won’t find explicit sex, violence, or language in our stories. We strive to create a world where readers of any age are welcome.

Thank you for being my guest. It was such a pleasure to have you here!!

Thank you for inviting us!


About HL Carpenter:

HL Carpenter is a mother/daughter duo who write from their studio in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, the Carpenters enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity. Visit HLCarpenter.com to enjoy gift reads and excerpts and to find out what’s happening in Carpenter Country.


Connect with HL Carpenter:

https://www.hlcarpenter.com

https:// www.pinterest.com/hlcarpenter

https:// twitter.com/hl_carpenter

https://www.amazon.com/HL-Carpenter/e/B007SHS9LA


HL Carpenter books:

We have a page on our website with all our books listed: https://www.hlcarpenter.com/index.php/fiction/

Our books are also listed on our Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/HL-Carpenter/e/B007SHS9LA/

Tales from a Modern Dinosaur. Characters from my Past. – Guest Post Written By Merlin Fraser

Last year, sometime in October, I published a hilarious story, written by Merlin Fraser. I named it “On a different note” and the ones who read it had a good laugh with Merlin’s humor.

With this guest post, Merlin shows us that he’s not ‘only’ a great writer, and has his well known, a bit rough humor; but he is also a talented author of great sensitivity and treasures his memories with a warm heart and a trace of sadness many of us would not have expected.

I wanted to share this side of Merlin with you and I’m sure you will read his guest post and find it as valuable and admirable as I do.


“And now for something completely different,” to coin a phrase, I pinched it from Monty Python’s Flying Circus, in case you were wondering where you heard the expression before.

I’m sure you tire of my exploits with trees so a change of tack is required as I explore some of the many characters I have met during my country upbringing.

Journeying back to the 1950’s I think this character reflects a slightly cruel streak in our past due to a complete lack of understanding as to the causes of what is now considered a mental illness.

Bernie was a gentle soul never known to harm anything or anyone but to all he was cruelly known as the village idiot and to my everlasting shame I have to confess that as a kid I was no better than the rest.

To this day I have no idea what the problem was within Bernie’s brain, as I remember he was looked after an old lady at the far end of the village but as to their relationship, I have no idea. To her great credit, Bernie was always clean well fed and fairly well dressed in hand-me-downs’, presumably donated from other villagers.

Bernie would do odd jobs, take letters to the post box, that sort of thing and could always be relied on to hold one end of a long skipping rope for the girls or go in goal for a friendly football kick about. Although I suspect today’s parents would have a different view of a Bernie in the midst of their offspring and would probably demand his removal from the community, however, as I said Bernie was absolutely harmless.

For a while, he did the daily village paper rounds, until one dark stormy winter’s day all the daily papers were found thrown inside the door of the village church. With hindsight, I think that in that thunderstorm Bernie just got scared, panicked and ran home. Nevertheless, it is safe to say that was the end of the only paying job he ever had.

After that, the paper delivering job fell upon us kids, and we took it in turns to bugger it up as best we could but in a crafty way so as not to raise too much suspicion or acquire a thick ear. Whether this was a childish attempt to get Bernie his job back or just a piece of rebellion I cannot say, but in my case probably the latter. However, whichever kid had the duty Bernie was always a constant companion chattering away and pointing at anything and everything that caught his eye. Except on Sundays, his guardian always insisted Bernie went with her to church.

Not very far away from our village there was a large agricultural college and quite a few of the students had their own transport, mainly vintage motorbikes but there was the odd Ex Army Land Rover that could, somehow or another, manage to hold about ten students, more depending up the season or how drunk they were.

Back then, any such college was way beyond the means of the average family and the agricultural college more so and it seemed to be populated by the children of the landed gentry or well to do Farmers. In other words, ‘Privileged OIKS,’ who because of their often-rowdy behaviour would get banned from more and more pubs and have to travel further and further afield to get a drink. They used to invade our village pub on a regular basis. Now our pub landlord was a genial host, far more tolerant than many and more than happy to take their money, and it is the subject of money that brings me back to Bernie.

Most days, thanks to his never-failing routine depending on the time of day you could always find Bernie. If there were cows or horses in the fields close by that’s where he would be feeding them handfuls of grass stroking and talking to them.

As kids it took us ages to win the confidence of big animals, Bernie, on the other hand, was always surrounded by them. Even little birds would take food from his hands. While if it were me the little sods would sit on the ground about twenty feet away with their head cocked at that jaunty angle and that look in their beady eye that said, “you have got to be joking!”

On sunny summer evenings Bernie had a favourite seat on a wall across from the pub, he never went in unless he had found or was given an empty bottle and then he could reclaim the three pence deposit. From his perch, Bernie had a grandstand view of the pub and as he sat there in his own little world, he would sit swinging his legs and waving at all who came and went.

On the occasions when the invading hoards came from the college, some would try to engage Bernie in conversation, which was impossible. If he wanted something he would ask or more often just point, he talked, more often than not any response to your reply was never connected. Therefore, we learnt to simply listen and smile in understanding.

However, one Sunday evening there was much hilarity outside the pub close to Bernie’s wall and Bernie seemed to be in the centre of the action. To Alan, my best pal, and me it looked like the college students were picking on or making fun of him and we went to investigate. What exactly we intended to do was unclear since there was about twenty of them and only two of us and at that time there was a considerable age and size difference. Thankfully, it never came to that because as we got closer, we discovered that there was some sort of game going on and by the happy look on Bernie’s face, he was winning.

To explain the game, I have to take you back to pre-decimal British coinage, I won’t bore you with the confusing facts as to why there was 240 pennies in a pound or 12 pence in a shilling but the size of the coins of the day played a significant part in the game.

Therefore, a sixpenny piece was half the size of a shilling piece. A shilling was half the size of a two-shilling piece and there was another coin, which was called half a crown that was slightly bigger than a two-shilling piece and worth six pence more.

I’m already confused, and I grew up with this crazy system, but fear not it’s not critical because the game here is based upon size and as you can see from the above description size relates to value, all very logical, however, I doubt Bernie had any notion of logic.

The students seemed to be taking it in turns to challenge Bernie by showing him two coins of different sizes and demanding he chose one. Bernie always took the smaller coin and therefore the one of lesser value, this was the cause of the hilarity and so the game went on until the students tired of the game, they sweetly called ‘idiot baiting’ and returned to the pub to throw beer and darts at one another.

Allan and I tried as best we could to explain to Bernie the error of his decisions, even showing him the difference in size from the collection of coins he had won by playing the same game between Allan and me, Bernie just frowned and shook his head.

We gave up, well I did, Allan had one more question, “Bernie why can’t you understand?”

Bernie emptied his pockets and at a rough guess he had at least two pounds in loose change, by kids standards a King’s ransom in those days, he looked at us and said, ”If Bernie take big coin they don’t play with Bernie no more !”

I learnt a valuable lesson that day and I suspect Allan did too.

What happened to Bernie?

Sad to say I have no idea after I joined the Navy in the early ’60s my family moved away from the village. When I eventually went back for a visit a few years later he was gone. The old woman who looked after him had died and I suspect the local authorities moved in and sent him off to an institution somewhere.

Nowadays in the mad rush and tear of modern living, I often think of those far off days, it was a far gentler time, the pace of life was far slower, and I can’t help thinking the world is a sadder place without the Bernie’s and the gentle humanity of a close community.

Picture courtesy of: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coins_of_the_pound_sterling