Literature At Its Best – York

    Today I want to tell you that I am anticipating meeting with the largest gathering in the North of England. The literary cream from all over the world!

    I am talking about the York Literature Festival. This year, I have chosen to join them in celebrating fifteen days of sheer literary bliss, with over 60 events packed into the itinerary!

    Pre-emptive gitters give way to sheer pleasure as I feast on the marvellous array of big names appearing this year, including Sue Perkins, Mark Gatiss, Michael Palin, Gervase Phinn, Dan Cruikshank, Ann Widdecombe, Christina Lamb, and so many, many more. I am in great company, so I had best get my best bib and tucker out of the mothballs, and into the limelight! I intend to take a back seat in this year’s festival: Keeping a sharp eye out for those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to mingle with the greatest, keenest minds in literary circles, and learn, learn, learn.

There’s so much sheer, raw talent available in one of the finest City’s in the World, that I would be stupid to miss out. I am so proud to feel so Yorkshire!

As you know, I have travelled the world. Being in places like war-torn Africa has centred me into the well-rounded figure I am today – and I am not talking about well-proportioned, though that, too, can be a product of my past culinary exploration! What I really mean is, I have been a child amongst the bombs; and I am not afraid to tell you I crapped out at one stage! I squeezed myself into the bottom kitchen cupboard inside my home, trying to dodge the myriad mortars and bullets being fired during a terrifying raid on our village. I was an absolutely petrified fourteen year old! On more than one occasion my personal safety was threatened, and I thought I was going to die! I got out of that Country, many did not.

So to find myself able to be at the York Literary Festival years later, is a miracle in itself. To actually meet the author of ‘The Africa House’ – among the plethora of gutsy stories – will be an honour. No doubt I will be too modest and unassuming to introduce myself, but even if I did, I gather the meeting for her will not have the same import. But the fact that another lady has experienced her share of that kind of conflict, and has written about it, spurs me into believing that she might just ‘know’ by the way I keep my distance that I ‘understand’! I have lived it, too!
I am in the process of writing my memoirs from those times I spent in subjugation and terror. I will benefit from anything the world can throw at me. I am the unreported world that happened, and I think it is time to gather my fellows around me, and write the story that Governments wished I would not!

I will be pleased to meet anyone who is visiting; shaking hands with ones who will colour my life, and make it understood. I am going there without agenda, just to learn and be myself. Join me in enjoying the best that Brit-Lit has to bring. Rich, warm and certain to contain some unforgettable experiences. See you there!

Copyright March, 2017 Linda Bates

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Characters of Weather

I was wondering how elusive your literati are?

Being of sound mind, and determined to hang on to what little bit of sanity I think is left in the world at large, I being the smallest denomination of the part of whom I  hope is intelligent, wonder where the dying breed is, when I am shut away in Cumbria?

Can we assume that bad weather, coupled with reactionary forecasting, will force most of us in the thick of storm Doris to imagine we are lost in the sleet and squall to all intelligent life-forms? I am managing to see quite a lot of sunshine through my window, although humans seem to be missing from the view. There’s hope that some of you are out there enjoying the brief respite before the weather gurus issue warnings – yellow, amber, red, or otherwise –  which have you scuttling back inside your reading dens to acquaint yourself with letters in abundance. 

Of course, there is nothing wrong with sitting at your computer writing, or reading, otherwise I would be self-deprecatory, and certainly hypocritical. But what makes me laugh with scorn is the certain idea that media weather-mongering might be highlighting the way we shudder at the first signs of a little rain or sunshine, just because we have the inherent capacity to be breeze-obsessed Brits, intelligent or otherwise. 

I’m a bit of a rebel when it comes to following the crowd, so storm Doris has me reaching for my memories of mother combing her record collection for ‘Take me back to the Black Hills’. She enjoyed a good storm, said it was a great way of clearing the air, making fresh the call of summer. The lyrics … ‘to the beautiful Indian country that I love..’ spring forth like the sunshine through my window, as I wonder what all the fuss is about. 

I wonder why we Brits are preoccupied by our weather systems? We get a little OCD about the statistics, and reel off a plethora of data about the least little raindrop – the media quoting how much rain fell back in Cromwell’s day! Why can we not intelligently ride out the storm with a little more decorum, and a lot of reasoning? 

Does one have to be a rebel, like myself, and point to the sunshine and say, “What a lovely day!” Or can one actually not comment positively when one is supposed to be under the auspices of uncontrollable forces, thereby rendering us sheep-blind for the rest of our lives?

Of course, I do spend a thought for all those who have been hit by poor weather.  I’m not diminishing the ferocity of extreme conditions, but in all fairness, this is not the norm, and I myself was affected by the floods that hit Cumbria in 2015. It was devastating! But I think we should try to put these things in perspective, and live our lives without feeling threatened by each little weather map we happen to glance at.

Go out and enjoy the day whatever the weather, and really embrace life. Don’t wait for the ‘intelligentsia’ to panic you into setts of confusion, unless there is a serious risk to your health. You are more than capable of  cleverly weighing your chances of survival against what the day has to throw at you, despite the weather, without the aid of a reactionary, CYA, reporter. Don’t let the Met Office fool you. I am sure they employ a chap who measures the weather using his dog. He simply thrusts his weather-shy mutt out into the yard and measures the weather by its reaction!  My assumption is made, of course, on their less-than-accurate yardstick predictions.  The pox on Theophrastus!  As for the Doris’s of this world, “Que-sera, sera!” As mother would say! 

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The Life of a Lesbian Kisser

Just a note – it’s out there at 99p for Valentine’s Day!

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