Author Archives: Faye Avalon

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Shakespeare's BirthplaceLast week, we spent a few days in leafy Warwickshire (Shakespeare Country) and, since we lived in the area about thirty five years ago, took the opportunity to visit some of our old haunts. Stratford-on-Avon, where we spent many happy hours showing visitors around Shakespeare’s town (especially his birthplace, pictured), then on to Leamington Spa, where I used to work, and a day spent in the city of Coventry which, for me, was the highlight of our trip.

Coventry is probably best known for it’s medieval cathedral, which was bombed in November 1940 and left in ruins. At the end of World War II, it was decided to build the new cathedral beside the ruins of the old one as a symbol of hope, peace and reconciliation.  Unfortunately, the photo I took is too blurry to post, but there are many great images on Google if you’d like to check them out.

20190519_125326Another reason for Coventry’s fame is the story of Lady Godiva. According to legend, she was the wife of a powerful tyrant lord who demanded high taxes from the people of Coventry. Lady Godiva asked her husband to stop this tax since she knew it was causing such hardship amongst the people she loved. He allegedly told her that he would do so if she rode naked through Coventry.

Lady Godiva took him at his word, and with only her long blonde hair covering her naked body she rode through Coventry on market day. Pious and modest, Lady Godiva is said to have sent word to the townspeople that they should go inside their homes and not watch as she rode by. Because they loved her and knew she was doing it to save them hardship, they complied. Except one young tailor who couldn’t resist looking. He became known as Peeping Tom and was blinded by heaven for not adhering to Lady Godiva’s instruction.

On the plinth below the statue are words from Tennyson’s poem:

“Then she rode back
clothed on with chastity.
She took the tax away
and built herself an everlasting name” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Old Dog, New Tricks

Synaptogenesis…ever heard of it? I hadn’t either until recently. While listening to a podcast on my MP3 player while out walking Vivvy, I discovered that synaptogenesis is the formation of new synapses in the brain. These are connecting points that link brain cells, approximately 100 billion of them, and it’s how our brain cells communicate with each other.

Deteriorating synapses are linked to a number of neurodegenerative diseases, but research shows that there are ways to regenerate and increase our synapses. According to the podcast, one of the ways is to change up the way we carry out routine tasks. Fascinated, I tried it out on the walk by stepping over stiles with my right foot instead of the left which I normally do, walking a different direction around a group of trees, and going anti-clockwise around the lake instead of clockwise. To be honest, I hadn’t realised what a creature of habit I’d become 🙂

Well, it got me thinking about other areas of my life, especially writing. I’ve always been a writer who needs a solid block of time during which I know I won’t be disturbed in order to write anything like meaningful prose (!). But in the spirit of trying something new, I decided to give writing sprints and timed writing a go. Many writers have success with this kind of writing, but I never thought it would work for me.

Since I wanted to do it properly, I downloaded the Pomodoro app to my phone I set it for twenty-five minutes of writing, followed by a five-minute break time during which you get up and move away from the screen and do something unrelated to writing.

Well, it’s been a revelation! Not only does it seem to work for me, but my word count has soared. Okay, I know this is great for a first draft, and there’ll be some things to fix in the second draft, but hey, words on the screen are always welcome, thank you very much! As they say, you can’t fix a blank page.

So, I’m going to continue with this new way of writing and along the way fire up some new connections in my brain 🙂 It’s a win/win!

Adventures at the Movies…

I really love going to the cinema and get my fix twice a month during movie night with friends at our town hall. We see and enjoy a variety of movies ranging from romantic comedies to action adventures to the more highbrow art(y) films.

Last month, for a variety of reasons (ha!) I wanted to see Aquaman. Unfortunately, it wasn’t an available option at our local so I was happy to venture into the city (such is my fan-girldom for a certain Mr. Momoa) but none of my girls could make the dates. Not to be discouraged, I talked two of my neighbour’s little boys into coming with me. It was all set, until the oldest boy fell and hurt his leg putting him out of action (he’s currently doing very well, thank goodness, and well on the way to recovery).

Of course, I could have dragged AJ along, especially with the promise of some pick-n-mix chocolate-covered brazils to assist his long-suffering-ness, but couldn’t put him through it (he gets a kind of motion sickness watching action movies on the big screen). To be fair, he did bag me a consolation prize as you can see in the photo. 20190111_120440

So, I became resigned to going it alone with just popcorn and a fizzy drink for company. But then I was having a whinge to my mum about my forthcoming solo visit and “I’ll come with you,” she said. Now, Aquaman is not my mum’s kind of film and I felt compelled to point that out. Regardless, she was adamant she was coming with me. So, off we went. We had a lovely day in the city: shopping, having lunch, more shopping, afternoon tea and finally, with our (ahem) many purchases in tow, we headed for the cinema. We splashed out on VIP seats and settled in to watch the movie.

I knew my mum wouldn’t really be enjoying it, and checked in with her a few times, only to get a smile and a thumbs-up in respone. Satisfied she was fine, I got lost in the movie. When it ended, she asked if I’d enjoyed it. I told her I did and asked if she had enjoyed it, too. She looked decidedly mischevious as she smiled and said, “Well, it was far too noisy for me, so I turned off my hearing aid and had a little nap. Whenever I opened my eyes, I just looked at the screen. That aqua person was very easy on the eye.”

20181228_200148Gotta love my mum. She’s game for just about anything. And she was still smiling when I took this photo of her as we left the cinema foyer and I whisked her to the nearest bar for a well-deserved glass of her favourite vino before heading home.

Now, I’m counting the days before Aquaman comes to DVD 🙂