Update – Garry George Wilkes – Rock and Classical Composer, Lyricist and Musician

Jean Reinhardt:

A hauntingly beautiful piece of music.

Originally posted on Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life:

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Last year I had the privilege of interviewing Garry George Wilkes who is a Rock and Classical Composer, Lyricist and Musician. Garry has been diagnosed with a number of mental health issues over the years and more recently, at only 60 years old the onset of vascular dementia.

His story is one of survival, triumph and also achievement. It also highlights the role that is played by those who love and care for a person with mental illness. A support team that has to bend to accommodate the needs of a person who is driven in many ways to perform but has to live their lives with a strict code of conduct and routine.

In the series of five interviews Gary talks about his childhood and young life. His music which encompasses many styles including Rock, Classical ballet scores, musicals, and as a talented lyricist. He is very honest about…

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A Bad Analogy Is Like A Good Analogy, Only Somehow Different

Jean Reinhardt:

I started laughing at number one and didn’t stop till the last one, which is probably my favourite (a gentle Thigh Master?) lol.

Originally posted on Jack Ronald Cotner:

Dictionary definition:  A’nal’o’gy (noun) 1. Comparison between two things that are similar in some way, often used to help explain something or make it easier to understand.

Sometimes all bad analogies do is make us laugh, or perhaps cringe. Here are twelve really bad analogies originally attributed to school children.

  1. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.
  2. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.
  3. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn’t.
  4. He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.
  5. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.
  6. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.
  7. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing…

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Victorian ‘Britain’s Got Talent’

Seeing as I’ve been immersed in the Victorian era for almost two years now, while writing my Irish Family Saga, I thought I would jog some of your memories (or your parents’ memories) with this video. It reminds me of  the show, ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ only with a Victorian twist. Nice dance performance half way through the video and plenty of good old fashioned comedy to bring a smile to your face. Enjoy.

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Enveloped

iron age, ireland history, thatch

I love how the thatched roof has enveloped this replica of an ancient dwelling at the Craggaunowen project in county Clare, Ireland. It gives the impression of wrapping itself around the occupants and protecting them from the elements. Of course, if you are claustrophobic, you might not appreciate the sentiment when you see the next two images.

craggaunowen, ancient buildings, ireland

Bronze Age living Ireland

Underneath the thatch, not exactly five-star but  a well built house in it’s day.

Find out more about this interesting period in Ireland’s history at Shannon Heritage.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Enveloped.”

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A piece of heaven (Rewritten)

Jean Reinhardt:

Take a virtual trip to a beautiful place and listen to some fabulous music while you do so, thanks to ‘My Happiness is an Allegory’ blog.

Originally posted on My happiness is an allegory:

‘Put your heart, mind, and soul into even your smallest acts. This is the secret of success.’-Swami Sivananda

Today I want to do something unique, showing you how a phoenix can come alive from an eternal fire. Metaphorically, of course. In fact, this is all about my hometown. You know what they often say ‘home sweet home’ or ‘home is not a place, but a feeling’. I must admit that this is entirely true for me. I can’t help but fall in love with this town because of the memories which are carved on every piece of concrete that I walk on and the history well-kept inside its “walls”. I see it as a place of fairy tales coming to life. So, let’s see how an idea, coming out of nothing can materialise and touch people’s hearts, because my friends definitely know how to leave a mark imprinted on one’s soul…

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Let’s Get The Party Started!

Jean Reinhardt:

Reblogging. The more that joins the party, the merrier.

Originally posted on Talk About Pop Music:

As the great Pink once said “Let’s Get The Party Started”. So, let’s get this blog party started right here, right now.

To celebrate the re-launch of my music blog I’m throwing a party and everyone’s invited!

For those of you who have never participated in a blog party before, here are the rules:

1. Choose your favourite post from your own blog. The subject of the post can be anything you like – blogging, food, parenting, life, travel, thoughts, photography… Note: This should be only one post at a time or it will get sent straight to the ‘spam’ folder but please don’t share more than three overall – spend the time visiting other bloggers instead.

2. Paste the link to your post in the comment section of this post.

3. Enjoy! Relax, pull up a chair, meet new people! Find new blogs, comment on their posts, be polite…

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Self-Publishing Advice

old printing press

You don’t have to struggle all on your own. There’s plenty of advice available from independent authors and self-publishers – and the following video is a good place to start.

Joanna Penn chairs a panel of seven experienced indie authors to answer questions about self-publishing fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

Courtesy of the Alliance of Independent Authors, IndieReCon 2015

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Forces of Nature

stone cottage ireland, nature

Left at the mercy of the elements, this old stone cottage has lost it’s roof, doors and windows to the forces of nature. In someone’s family tree there must be ancestors who once lived there, but a branch of a different sort is making itself at home there now. 

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Forces of Nature.”

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The Last Moments of The Lusitania

LusitaniaThe Lusitania, a British registered vessel, was sunk by a torpedo that changed the course of history. It took just eighteen minutes to go down. Today, May 7th, 2015 is the one hundredth anniversary of that tragic event. One of the passengers was widower George Hook, travelling with his two children, Elsie and Frank. On board was another family, Walter and Nettie Mitchel and their baby son, along with Nettie’s brother, John.

The German u-boat U20 was headed towards a war zone in Irish water, where its mission was to sink any British ship in its path. Travelling to the same area at a top speed of 25 knots was the Lusitania, nicknamed The Greyhound of the Sea. U-boats were designed to attack slow moving targets, so speed was considered an advantage in avoiding their missiles.

A one hundred year old document, written by Captain Walther Schweiger while on board U20, outlines the course of its mission. It sank a schooner and two merchant ships before encountering the Lusitania. No escort was sent to meet the massive liner, as it was considered more of a risk slowing down to accompany a smaller vessel. Unfortunately, a heavy fog forced the big ship to decrease her speed. When the fog lifted the ship was close to the coast of Ireland, and passengers could see the Old Head of Kinsale.

At one o’clock in the afternoon, U20 surfaced before beginning its journey home and spotted the Lusitania. The ship received a warning of a German u-boat in Irish waters and Captain Turner changed course from Liverpool to Cobh. The Lusitania was travelling at 22 knots. Never had the u-boat hit a target at that speed before. Its missile, cutting through the water at forty miles an hour, struck it’s target in less than a minute.

At ten past two the torpedo punched a hole in the side of the ship. A secondary explosion occurred, much stronger than the first, most likely caused by a ruptured steam pipe, according to some accounts.

One of the passengers, French actress Rita Jovilet, was carrying a small revolver because of her fear of drowning. Nettie and Walter Mitchel and their baby son had no life jackets and managed to get into a lifeboat, but there were no bungs and it began to sink. The couple were left clinging to an upturned boat in freezing water. The ship was carrying seventy lifeboats and rafts but the severe listing prevented most of them from being launched. Boats were landing upside down, and on top of people who were already in the water. George Hook decided it was too dangerous to get into a lifeboat and told his children to prepare to jump.

Sixteen minutes after the impact, the deck that the Hook family were on was almost in the water. When it reached their feet George told his children to jump but Frank got separated from his family in the sea.

At twenty-eight minutes past two, the Lusitania sank beneath the waves, more than eleven miles (18 kms) from shore.

Two hours later a rescue boat still hadn’t arrived and the survivors in the water were freezing. Only six of the forty-four lifeboats had been successfully launched. The French actress was in the water, clinging to an upturned life boat, as was Nettie and Walter. Their baby son died from exposure, in his father’s arms. Eventually, Walter said he couldn’t hold on any longer and slipped away. Three hours after the Lusitania went down, fishing boats were the first vessels to arrive on the scene to pluck 764 survivors from the sea.

George and Elsie Hook spent three days looking for young Frank’s body, until a man told them about a boy in a hospital with a broken leg, caused by a falling lifeboat. When they found Frank the first thing he is known to have said to them was, ‘It took you long enough to find me.’ 

Nettie’s brother John had been picked up by a tugboat and brought to Cobh. He found his sister left for dead among some of the bodies, but thought he saw her eyelids flutter. You can read Nettie’s story here.

French actress, Rita Jovilet, did not shoot herself as intended, but survived to star as herself in the movie Lest we Forget.

Tragically 1,198 perished, including three stowaways, a higher percentage than on the Titanic. Ninety-four of them were children of which thirty-one were babies. The dead were washed up on the Cork coast for weeks afterward. There is a monument in Cobh as a memorial to those who perished. Check out The Lusitania Resource to find out more about her passengers and crew. It will take you longer to browse through the site than it did for the ship to sink.

‘The Lusitania Monument’ by sculptor Jerome Connor

Lusitania, Cobh and Lusitania

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Not so ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’

I have always loved Thomas Hardy’s historical romance, Far from the Madding Crowd, so you can imagine my exquisite delight to find three of my own books alongside his, in the top 100 Victorian romance books on Amazon UK.

historical romance, historical fiction, Irish writing, Thomas Hardy.

Most of Hardy’s characters are portrayed as being in conflict between their passion and their social circumstance. Like his contemporary, Charles Dickens, he was very critical of Victorian society, particularly the plight and decline of rural communities. He initially published his work as a series of stories in magazines, as Dickens had done before him, but primarily saw himself as a poet.

Thomas Hardy’s fourth novel, Far from the Madding Crowd was originally published anonymously in serialized form in Cornhill Magazine and had a large following of readers eagerly awaiting each monthly episode. It is lovely to see that his writing is still reaching people’s hearts in our modern era. I’ve seen the trailer of the latest film based on the book (I think there has been about three over the years) and it looks authentic and is beautifully shot. I can’t wait to see the full movie.

Here’s a taste of what to expect if you go see the movie.

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