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My Blog

Hogmanay

Posted on January 3, 2017
Category: Musings
One of the most surprising things about Christmas and New Year in Scotland is that Christmas was not celebrated as a festival and was virtually banned in Scotland for 400 years, from the end of the 17th Century to the 1950s. The reason for this dates back to the years of Protestant Reformation, when the straight-laced Kirk proclaimed Christmas as a Popish or Catholic feast and as such needed banning. In fact Christmas Day was not declared a public holiday until 1954 and Boxing Day became a public holiday in 1974, so at the time of the story there would

Christmas in the Netherlands

Posted on December 6, 2016
Category: Musings
Hello everybody, I haven’t written any blogs for two years because my father died in January 2014 and then I moved house. I have now written another book called “The Anstruther Lass” a historical romance set in Dundee in 1865 and so I decide to start writing blogs again to promote the book. As it is nearly Christmas and the hero in the book is a Dutchman, I did some research about Christmas in the Netherlands and I thought you might all like to hear about it. So here goes: For a start, the most important day during December is
SPEECH FOR LADIES NIGHT Hello everyone, Well it’s that time of year again and you’ve got me again.  Christmastime Some people love it and some hate it.  One of the problems is buying presents for people. Now us girls always think it’s difficult to find something for our men but I think men have an even more difficult time thinking of something that their partner would appreciate. I know it’s ladies night but it’s in our nature to be kind and feel empathy for our partners so here’s a little story especially for the men.  A man on his Harley
Thank the guest of honour (For gods sake Vivien find out what the bloody hell his name is before you sit down for dinner!!)Say how interesting his speech was etc etc Do you believe in Father Christmas? (Someone is bound to say yes so adlib say your weren’t supposed to say that, there’s always one isn’t there? Well you believe if you want to it’s a nice thing to believe in. Just like when George Osbourne says…. Go back to speech) No of course you don’t, but it would be a nice thing to believe in. Do you believe George

A picture of Stella

Posted on October 11, 2012
Category: Musings
A picture of Stella Stella Serck-Roche was a beautiful woman, even at 99 yrs old.  I remember that I took her to buy a watch at a jewellers in Blachington Road Hove. It’s run by an old chap and is an Aladdin’s cave.  Anyway Stella had a lovely time chatting to the jeweller and chose a watch. At the time she had her leg bandaged as she had a thin skin   condition and as the wife of the jeweller also had the same condition and had a bandage of her leg she came round from the back of the shop

European Sewer Tours

Posted on October 5, 2012
Category: Musings
From: Edward Keogh <keogh829@btinternet.com> Subject: Sewer Tours To: vivien@vivien-carmichael.co.uk Date: Friday, 5 October, 2012, 16:05 Other Sewer Tours, European and British:After posting my blog a friend sent me this information about European sewer tours.  Here is the link  http://bit.ly/UoaMAc and the info he sent      Want to to take a European Sewer Tour? It’s simple, fun, inexpensive, and smelly! Here’s how… PARIS Visit des Egouts de Paris Entrance: Ticket kiosk at the south end of the Pont de l’Alma, opposite 93 Quai d’ OrsayHours: Saturday to Wednesday from 11AM to 5PM in the Summer, 4 PM in the winter (closed for 3

Brighton Sewers

Posted on October 4, 2012
Category: Musings
Brighton Sewers I first went on the Brighton Sewer tour when I was 18 yrs old.  Varndean Grammar School arranged it after we had completed our A levels. We were all in high spirits and we found it very exciting and exhilarating especially when we exited through the manhole in Steine Gardens.  I went on another tour in 2003 and enjoyed it just as much and it gave me the idea for the start of my book, “The Grail of the Unicorn Planet. Brighton’s Victorian sewers were built in 1860 and they were so well designed that they are still

Plenty of legroom

Posted on September 26, 2012
Category: Musings
Plenty of legroom I read a letter in the Times yesterday Tuesday 25th September, about Igor Sikorsky, the subject of my last blog.  So I thought I would post it. Sir – the suggestion that Vladimir Putin’s presidential airliner should include a “patio” (Celebrity Watch, Times3, Sept 20 has historical precedence. The outsize aircraft built by the Russian aviation pioneer Igor Sikorsky in 1913-14 variously featured an “observation balcony” and a “promenade deck” in which members of the Tsar’s suite were famously photographed enjoying an in-flight stroll.   Christy Campbell London SW17 Tweet Tweet
In my first book, “The Skimming Stone”, Archie and Ally time travel back to the Second World War, meet Jazz, a Spitfire pilot and witness a dogfight and a victory roll. This spiked my curiosity about aviation and how it all began so I turned to the Internet and this is what I found. Do you know when the first airplane made a flight? I may surprise you to know that it was back in 1903, on the 17th of December to be precise, Orville Wright made the first flight of 120 feet at about 10 feet from the ground

The Grail of the unicorn Planet is now on Kindle

Posted on August 21, 2012
Category: Musings
  The Grail of the unicorn Planet is now on Kindle and can be downloaded or borrowed. Please use this link amzn.to/OUbNg7 Read it and let me know what you liked about the book. Tweet Tweet

UFO’S and Aliens – Foo Fighters

Posted on August 15, 2012
Category: Musings
Perhaps the strangest reports of UFO sightings occurred at the end of the Second World War. Pilots, who are usually rational and sensible persons, reported seeing fast moving round glowing objects following their aircraft while flying over Germany at night. Sometimes they were described as fiery, glowing red, white or orange. Pilots and their aircrew reported that these objects flew formation with their aircraft and behaved as if under intelligent control. Sometimes it seemed as if they were toying with them like playful dolphins riding in the slipstream of boats, making wild turns around them before simply vanishing.  They could not
This is the beginning of my father’s story and tells why he decided to join the Royal navy.and the first chapter of my fathers experiences in the Second World War I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky, And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by, And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sails shaking, And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.   I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the
I was listening to Jeremy Vine on the Radio the other day and he was talking to Antony Beevor about his new book called “The Second World War”. Jeremy was saying that it is strange that The Second World War fascinates everybody. This struck a chord with me as I am spell bound by the War and love nothing better than watching old war films. For although there was tragedy and hardship it was a glamorous and romantic time, stream trains gushing steam, whistles blowing, passionate goodbye embraces. There was a spirit of recklessness, servicemen knew they could meet a violent death;
    I was delighted when Channel Four announced their programme about urban foxes, firstly because I love foxes and secondly because one of the characters in my book, “The Grail of the Unicorn Planet,” is an urban fox called Rufus. In my book, the children are able to communicate with him, made possible by the wizard Signet. He is an important character as he prevents the children being caught by two dangerous criminals.  He also shows them how to use the T.A.M the device enabling Archie to space travel to the planet Altair to warn Signet that  the evil wizard Vastator is behind
Communication with extraterrestrial intelligence  In my book, “The Grail of the Unicorn Planet” the extraterrestrials that live on the planet Altair are highly advanced and benevolent.  They visit Earth, unknown to most of us but if they did show their faces they would be friendly. However some people believe that to try and make contact with aliens and send messages to outer space is foolhardy and even dangerous. David Brun, scientist and science fiction author and considers it may be risky to reveal Earth’s location to alien civilisations.  Another notable critic is the eminent physicist Stephen Hawking, who has said,

Car trouble

Posted on March 12, 2012
Category: Musings
I thought that the days of rogue cowboy garages was over but I was wrong. After having two clutches in quick succession, fitted by Lee Hire in Brighton they told me that I had burnt the clutches to a crisp and that the car would not go into gear because the gear box was  faulty. They suggested that I “pass” the car and its problems on to an unsuspecting buyer and I should buy an automatic car as it would be better for a woman of  my age! I then found out that Lee Hire had fitted the wrong clutch.  I thought i would share with you all, the action I have now taken. So here is the

Stargazing, Exoplanets and Space travel

Posted on March 4, 2012
Category: Musings
Stargazing, Exoplanets and Space travel I have always liked Science fiction and have been inspired by H.G Wells and Jules Verne and later Asimov. So as a writer I wanted to incorporate this as an element in my books.  Information technology means that we all have instant access to the latest developments in technology and we can see that Science Fiction is steadily becoming Science Fact.  Scientists at NASA are discovering more Exoplanets with their Kepler planet-hunting telescope every day.  So I thought I would tell you about one of the latest ones named Kepler 22-b.  It has been identified as having

Holy days and the first day of the week

Posted on February 24, 2012
Category: Literacy
The Literacy class where I am a volunteer restarted after half term, last Monday the 20th February and I was very surprised to find that I learnt something myself. The teacher asked everyone, “What is the first day of the Week?” You possibly thought like me that it was Monday. or maybe you are cleverer than me and know that it is in fact Sunday. Now I thought that in the bible, the Sabbath, or Sunday, was the last day of the week.  The day when you are supposed to rest and not work.  Then I got to thinking that this is only true if you

The Odd Sock in the Laundry Syndrome

Posted on February 19, 2012
Category: Musings
Do you ever find that when you come to sort out the laundry after it has been washed and tumble-dried that you are left with odd socks? Even though  you  have  washed  the  clothes  at home, they just can’t be found. They’re not left in the washing machine or tumble drier so where on earth have they gone? The answer is that they are not anywhere on this earth.  It’s all the fault of Lev and Soli. Now, at this point, you may well be asking, “Who the hell are Lev and Soli” Well, Lev and Soli are Mizakeen who

What’s in a name?

Posted on February 18, 2012
Category: Uncategorized
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.(Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet Scene II, ii 1 -2). So speaks Juliet in Shakespeare’s famous work. I was thinking about this, last week, when my friends came back from a holiday in Hong Kong and telephoned me to ask when they could come round to give me the present they had bought on their travels. They told me in was a framed pictogram of my name in Chinese with a translation of the meaning on the back. “It describes you, exactly, its so funny.” I  was fascinated and in the hour it took

Favourite words

Posted on February 17, 2012
Category: Literacy, Musings
Do you have a favourite word?  There’s certainly plenty to choose from, at least 250,000 distinct words listed by The Oxford English Dictionary. We have assimilated words from many other languages throughout history so that modern English contains a very large vocabulary. Some people refer to English as a “borrowing” language. Historically, English originated from the fusion of languages and dialects, collectively termed Old English, which were brought to the eastern coast of Great Britain by Germanic (Anglo-Saxon) settlers by the 5th century. Then came Latin.  Many English words are constructed based on roots from Latin, because Latin in some

Glasgow Rangers

Posted on February 15, 2012
Category: Musings
I’m not usually a football follower but I was both shocked and affected by the news that Glasgow Rangers has been forced  into liquidation. The reason  that I feel connected to this iconic football team is that my grandfather Robert Carmichael was the Physiotherapist and chief Scout for Rangers before and during the Second World War.  He played football for Clyde and then Sunderland  and when he ‘retired’ as a footballer, joined Rangers in this capacity. In those days footballers did not earn the megabucks that they command today nor did they have the same “celebrity” status. Although my father and his two brothers were talented footballers my grandfather did not want any of them

Volunteering in a Literacy class at the Friends Centre

Posted on February 13, 2012
Category: Literacy
Did you know that one person in six in the UK struggles to read and write? Poor skills compromise health, confidence, happiness and employability. These literacy difficulties will limit a person’s opportunities throughout their adult life. But this is not the whole story. So much pleasure too, can be derived from a rattling good tale whether it is a thriller, romance, historical novel, or sci-fi. As a writer I am dedicated to words, books, reading and writing and loving reading as I do, I feel it is so important for people to be able to enjoy books.  There is such

Stargazing, Exoplanets, Aliens et al

Posted on February 6, 2012
Category: Musings
Thanks to the BBC’s recent programmes on Stargazing hosted by professor Brian Cox and Dara O’Briain there has been an explosion of interest in Outer Space.  This used to be in the realms of Science Fiction but now it is, moving closer to reality.  Scientists used to pooh pooh the idea that there may be other life on planets in the universe but now with the discovery of Exoplanets they have done an about-face and admit that yes there is possibly other life out there. Any life out there in Space could well be more advanced than us.  We have

Hello world!

Posted on February 1, 2012
Category: Uncategorized
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