Category Archives: Children’s books

Things for which I am grateful #365/365.


Some folks might think this is a bit of a cheat. I started with my kids and I’m going to finish with them. In my defence, I have two of the little rascals so I’m counting it as one post apiece.

There is nothing more precious to me on this Earth than my two daughters. Anyone who has children will know that something changes inside of you – chemically, biologically – and nothing else seems to matter.

Of course, this doesn’t apply to every parent, and true, the pesky varmints do get on your nerves a lot of the time. And yes, they bicker constantly. And they manage to talk in a stream of consciousness James Joyce would be proud of. But, when all’s said and done, they don’t outweigh all the adorable moments. I simply couldn’t live without them.

It’s been an epic year of blogging. Thank you for sticking by me and I wish you all a very happy, healthy and prosperous new year!

Right, I’m going for a lie down.

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Here are my 365 things that I am grateful for:

1 My daughters

2 Water

3 Poetry

4 Baths

5-7 Notebooks, pens, pencils

8,9 Butterflies and moths

10, 11 Softball and baseball

12 Fresh coffee

13 Sound / masts

14 Indoor toilets

15 Stepping Hill Hospital

16 Birds of Paradise

17 Roget’s thesaurus

18 Mother Earth

19 Clingfilm dispenser

20, 21 Yorkshire pudding and onion gravy

22 Jorge Luis Borges

23 Classic cars

24 Curry

25 Tim Berners Lee

26 Charles Bukowski

27 Yorkshire

28 Shiraz

29 Food

30 Katell Keineg

31 Tao Te Ching

32 A roof over my head

33 Peat fires

34 Street art

35 Friends (as in – mates, not the T.V. show)

36 Wilfred Owen

37 The Penguin Café Orchestra

38 The fry-up

39 Wolves

40 W.B. Yeats

41, 42 Cherry blossom trees and haiku poetry

43 Bread

44 Boules

45 Maps

46 Refuse collectors

47 Candy Chang

48 Sparrows

49 The tomato

50 Studio Ghibli

51 Oliver Jeffers

52 Johannes Gutenberg

53 Tom Waites

54 The cello

55 Mothers’ day

56 The Phoenicians

57, 58 Bacon and brown sauce

59 Tulips

60 Fish and chips

61 Giselle

62 Airfix

63 Firefighters

64 Rain

65 Libraries

66 Raymond Carver

67 Toulouse-Lautrec

68 The Goldfinch

69 Wings of Desire

70 Silence

71 Elizabeth Barrett Browning

72-99 Ireland

100 Talking Heads

101 Sylvia Plath

102 Yorkshire Sculpture Park

103 My mum

104 Modigliani

105 Kurt Vonnegut

106-128 Electricity

129 The pop man

130-147 Comedians/comedy

148 Commando magazine

149 Pastry

150-156 Social media

157 David Bowie

158 Football

159 D-Day

160-194 France

195-230 Novels

231 Graphic Design

232 Viva! Roxy Music

233 – 274 Art

275 Betty Blue

276 Writing

277 Joy Division

278 – 287 Scotland

288 – 324 Italy

325 – 352 Photography

353 Leeds Utd

354 Love

355 Universe

356 Advertising

357 Pan’s Labyrinth

358 – 363 Democracy

364 Miscellaneous

365 My daughters II

If anyone wants to read any of the previous posts simply type the title into the search box on the right. (It’s underneath the ‘topic’ cloud.)

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Cantankerous Yorkshireman wants to be ‘liked’.


Dear Fellow Bloggers and Followers,

I wanted to ask a favour…

Hello?

Where did everyone go?

I’ve finally gotten round to setting up an author page on Facebook and I’d be very grateful if you could pop along and ‘like’ it for me. Here’s the link:

https://www.facebook.com/thereisnocavalry

What’s in it for you?

Well, you’ll get to hear the latest about what I’m working on. (Big deal.)

A sci-fi short story called 'Little Snow'.

A sci-fi short story called ‘Little Snow’.

I’ll post some funny stuff about writing. (Meh.)

Tell it like it is.

Tell it like it is.

There’ll be some words of wisdom and encouragement from famous writers. (I have a Pinterest account too, you know.)

Aaawww.

Aaawww.

Let’s be honest, it’s really just a vehicle to promote my books. So, if you’re not that interested in novels, short stories, poetry or screenplays written by a cantankerous old Yorkshireman, then it’s probably not for you.

Buy my book!

Buy my books!

 

 

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Peripheral Vision – Mood Board


This is part of a mood board I’ve created on Pinterest to help me with my second novel, Peripheral Vision. (Working title.)

Before I show you the shots, (and hopefully get you in the mood), here’s the synopsis:

After being blinded in one eye by his abusive father, Peripheral Vision tells the story of 8-year-old Danny Kane growing up in 1970s northern England. His violent upbringing results in his descent into a life of drugs and crime. As he reaches adulthood he realises that the only way out of his spiralling slide into perdition is to find the one thing that he treasured most – his childhood friend, Sally, who was taken to Ireland after the death of her mother. Can the search for his long-lost love lead to Danny’s redemption?

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#148/365 Going Commando


Not that kind of commando, you smutty lot.

Commando, the kids comic.

commando

I didn’t get many hits when I did a post on the Airfix soldiers of my youth a few weeks ago, so I’m not counting on this one receiving very many either. I reckon you P.C. lot frown upon things that have a violent bent – and quite rightly so. I don’t let my kids play with TMDs. (Toys of Mass Destruction.) That said, my youngest – whose birthday is coming up – did ask for an AK47 and a visa for Ukraine for some reason.

However, growing up in the 60s and 70s was a very different ball game and it was considered the norm.

I used to buy Commando magazine every fortnight and relished the tales of bravery and courage under seemingly impossible odds. Come to think of it, that’s all they were ever about – chisel-jawed commandos outwitting dastardly Nazi dummkopfs. Or, Spitfire Ace, down to his last bullet and some harsh language, versus the entire German Luftwaffe. (Guess who won?)

I loved the artwork. (Not dissimilar to the illustrations on the Airfix packaging.) The covers were illustrated in glorious colour, whilst the story strips were in bold black and white.

I used to have hundreds of these magazines. Wonder what ever happened to them. I bet some would be worth a few bob nowadays.

Of course, I think it’s completely perverse to glorify and glamorise war these days. But, like I say, ’twas a different world.

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On a separate note – thank you to all you lovely readers from all around the world who have helped There Is No Cavalry reach over 100,000 hits! I am extremely grateful.

 

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#65/365 – Libraries


65 down 300 to go.

Well, seeing as though it’s World Book Day I thought I’d give a shout out to my local library in Heaton Moor.

It’s not a very big library, but that doesn’t matter, because if you want something they don’t have, they just order it in for you.

And, there must be close to a score of computers in there for people to surf the net or look for jobs. You also see lots of groups of people meeting up for coffee mornings and that sort of thing. (To discuss what, I have no idea. But some of the wrinklies get a tad tetchy if you’re sitting on their sofa when they come in.) So it’s not just a place to borrow books, it’s part of the community.

I take my children there quite a lot. Kids can take as many books out as they like and they don’t get fined for late returns. (Unlike me, who gets fined all the time.) They don’t just go to borrow books, there’s a small area for kids where they can sit and draw or even choose a DVD. My kids really look forward to going. (Which makes me both happy and proud.) Last week they borrowed nine books (all for free) and two DVDs (small fee). How cool is that? They even have visiting kids’ authors from time to time.

Imagine how many children there are in the world who don’t have access to books…

I feel very privileged to have all of these treasures on my doorstep and at my fingertips for absolutely nothing. (Let’s just hope the Tories don’t get wind of it.)

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#51


One of the good things about having younglings is being exposed to things one might not ordinarily be exposed to such as: children’s books.

I was first introduced to Oliver Jeffers by another parent. (Not literally, you understand.) The story in question was: The Incredible Book Eating Boy.

As the title suggests, it is about a boy who devours books. The more he eats, the cleverer he gets. Before long, he’s the cleverest person on the entire planet. Grown-ups included.

Things start to go a bit pear-shaped when he begins to get the information muddled up: 2 + 2 = elephant.

A team of doctors conclude that he must stop eating books. (No shit.) They don’t actually say what might happen to him. But I imagine at the bare minimum it would involve a severe case of constipation. (No shit – literally.)

One day, the IBEB, in a state of complete boredom, decides to pick up a book. But instead of eating it, he just reads it. And guess what? He loves it.

Not only is it a really original idea, it is also beautifully illustrated in Jeffers’ unique style.

The way back home

My girls have all of his books bar one. All quirky, interesting stories, all exquisitely illustrated.

 

He isn’t just a children’s author/illustrator, but also an accomplished artist and sculptor.

Replacing Adrianna in 3 parts, by Oliver Jeffers

So why am I telling you all of this? Well, have a look at his website. Even if you don’t have kids, it will make you happy.

A depiction of beauty
Never ever ever be without a note / sketch book

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Perfection


To achieve perfection takes trial and error.

If others are involved in your task, they may see your experimentation as indecision.

Ignore that gnawing urge to placate them for an easier life, and press on with your goal.

Only then, will you hope to attain something that you can be 85 – 90% satisfied with.

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