#SoCS April 14/18 – Mon

Linda’s prompt for SoCS this week…

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “mon.” Use the letters “mon” in a word, or use it as a word by itself. Have fun!

 

Mon – my

It was the pronoun from old French lessons that was in Deirdre’s mind. My body, my choice. She touched her stomach and thought how this referendum in the Republic of Ireland was coming too late for her even if the yes vote won out. But it wouldn’t be too late for many other men, women and non-binary people who found themselves in this situation in the future. Pregnant and not ready to be. Forced to give birth by other people. By other people telling them what to do with their own bodies. Like people were currently telling her to do with hers.

 

Down the road Bethany was looking at leaflets. She sobbed for the unborn child and thought about the pronoun mon. My and I seemed so selfish to her. And soon she was up and ready to hand out more leaflets and thought,

I will get mon way.

 

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My Seven English Grand National Tips

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Tomorrow is a big day in the racing calendar. 40 horses will take to the track at Aintree for the 171st English Grand National. But as always there will only be one who will be victorious. It is honestly one of the highlights of my year and in preparation I have compiled my seven tips for National glory. Read on for my tips for this year’s Aintree Randox Grand National …

 

Shantou Flyer

I absolutely love this horse. He has so much talent in his little toes. Recently he had a great run at Cheltenham where he was just bet on the line. In fact his record at Cheltenham is excellent where he has never been out of the top two. His run here in this race last year wasn’t fantastic but there’s a lot more to come from this horse. He’s a great jumper and a very hard-working horse and today just might be his day.

Price: 33/1

 

 

 

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Ucello Conti

This horse is another great horse. Last year he was running and jumping beautifully until he was brought down near the 22nd fence. He is a really good stayer and will feature strongly if he makes it all the way around this time. Comes from a very talented family of horses too with his brother being the recently deceased Silviniaco Conti (R.I.P.)

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Price: 20/1

 

Houblon Des Obeaux

 

This is a dark horse (no pun intended) in this race. Venetia Williams won this race before with a 100/1 shot Mon Mome and I think this horse could possibly be a surprise package. This horse has been placed in some tough races in the past: in the Welsh and Midlands Nationals and it wouldn’t shock me if this horse was there or thereabouts come tomorrow.

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Price: 50/1

Chase The Spud

What first drew my attention to this horse was his name. His name’s cool. But then I looked him up and he’s a real little fighter of a horse and a really good jumper. He won the Midlands National in fine style and has a real chance to build on that tomorrow.

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Alpha Des Obeaux

The news that Rachael Blackmore is due to ride this horse tomorrow is a real plus for his chances. Blackmore rode a brilliant race in the Irish Grand National recently to come 6th on Arkwrisht and her skills combined with this horse’s talent could be a recipe for success.

Price: 33/1

 

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The Last Samuri

This horse ran great in this race two years ago finishing second and is a very strong horse who you can never rule out. I think he will go well here. He is proven to get around the track so he is a good stayer which is real plus for this race.

Price: 14/1

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Maggio

This wonderfully hard-working horse could feature tomorrow. He’s another dark horse in the race and is interestingly owned by  D G Pryde/James Beaumont who owned 2013 winner (and my last winner of this race) Auroras Encore alongside David van der Hoeven. This horse like Auroras Encore is 66/1. Is there a great omen in that? Also the horse is trained by a Dublin trainer Patrick Griffin. Will Griffin bring the luck of the Irish to Maggio? A great jockey too in Nick Scholfield.

Price: 66/1

 

And that concludes my National guide. I wish you all the best of luck in the race tomorrow and hopefully all the horses and jockeys return safely.

All that remains to be said is may the 2018 Randox Grand National commence …

Second Time Around By Mary Higgins Clark Review!

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Second Time Around (2003) by Mary Higgins Clark is an interesting and engaging read.

In this book, Nicholas Spencer who is at the helm of a medical research company called Gen-stone goes missing while he is in the middle of helping to find a vaccine to cure cancer after his plane crashes while he is going to Puerto Rico. Spencer’s body is not found which sets up the question for the rest of the book wonderfully: is Nicholas Spencer alive or dead?

As time progresses news emerges that puts the authenticity of the vaccine in question and it is discovered that Spencer had allegedly took money from Gen-stone. And now enter Marcia “Carley” DeCarlo who is writing about the story for the Wall Street Weekly. Business and personal combine as Carley is also the stepsister of Lynn who is Spencer’s wife. They don’t have a great relationship but Carley is still determined to be fair and to be there for Lynn at this sad time and help prove Lynn had no part to play in her husband’s shady business dealings.

This book is entertaining and the story is a great read. The only flaw I have with it is that there isn’t really a level of suspense in it. The outcome is quite easy to piece together which is a huge pity for a mystery. That aside I liked the characters and the dynamics between them and how the story mirrored the real-life we read about in the news so well.

As long as you don’t expect a major twist, this is a great and very interesting read.

To purchase Second Time Around by Mary Higgins Clark go to:

 

And for more on Mary Higgins Clark and her work:

http://maryhigginsclark.com/

Northanger Abbey By Jane Austen Review!

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Northanger Abbey (1817) by Jane Austen is a stunningly written story by one of the queens of historical romance. She finished this novel in 1803, the first of her novels to be finished but it was published after her death. Around the time this story was written Gothic novels were very popular and this novel was written as a satire to those novels.

I love horror movies and the gothic element to this novel is something I love as well as the subtle humour in it. It is an incredibly cleverly-written story following the protagonist Catherine Morland who loves Gothic novels like Ann Radcliffe’s Mysteries of Udolpho. Now seventeen, Catherine meets Henry Tilney and soon the Tilneys have asked her to come to stay at Northanger Abbey where they live. The fact that it is an abbey causes Catherine’s overly imaginative mind to think that it will be haunted and a horror-filled experience. She soon finds out that there is rooms in the house which no one goes into and that these rooms were the rooms of Mrs. Tilney who died nine years prior. Catherine puts two and two together and comes up with a hundred in thinking that General Tilney killed his wife.

Soon Catherine comes to her senses but Henry tells her that his parents were very much in love. Catherine leaves the abbey full with guilt and fears that has lost Henry who she loves due to her wild suspicions of his father.

I don’t wish to spoil the outcome of the novel so I’ll stop there. It is a wonderfully intriguing and page-turning novel as well as a coming-of-age novel. Austen wonderfully wrote a great commentary in an entertaining way on how reading for entertainment is great but it must not be confused with reality. She showed perfectly how the world of fiction can sometimes get the better of impressionable minds and how some people, bored with their own lives, try to make their own lives more interesting by relating their life to things they read in novels.

This was Austen’s shortest novel and can be read in just a few sittings. It’s really interesting and the pictures in the scenes are wonderfully painted. A great short read.

 

To read Northanger Abbey By Jane Austen for free go to:

https://www.planetebook.com/free-ebooks/northanger-abbey.pdf

 

And to find out more about Jane Austen and her work:

https://www.janeausten.org/

 

 

Friday Fictioneers Writing Prompt: The Old House

 

 

PHOTO PROMPT © Yarnspinnerr

 

The Old House 

 

I waited, remembered when we were kids. We would meet here at the old battered down house in the forest. You were the only boy I liked. We would play Cowboys and Indians and make up stories that the house was haunted.

Years later, you arrive here again, take my hand. Our wedding rings rub off each other. No longer are we two young boys playing Cowboys and Indians but men with a house to fix up. Our first home since our wedding. And by god, it looks like one hell of a job so we best get to work.

For Friday Fictioneers Writing Prompt. Check out the website at:

https://rochellewisoff.com/

 

Hard Times By Charles Dickens Review!

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Hard Times (1854) by Charles Dickens was Dickens’ tenth novel.

The story follows Thomas Gradgrind who is an affluent merchant from Coketown, an industrial city in England. He is very much into what he sees as fact, getting on in the world and the business of things being as he sees them rational. He wishes to pass this on to his oldest children Louisa and Tom. He starts a school in which he takes in Sissy Jupe when her father who is a circus performer leaves her abandoned. Tom follows in his father’s footsteps as he gets older. But Louisa feels that her father’s teachings leave her with a whole in her life. She wants to see things from a new perspective and feels conflicted about this. Louisa ends up marrying Josiah Bounderby, a friend of her father’s who is much older than her and is a pretty factual, rational and practical type of man. Meanwhile Sissy stays on at the house to babysit the youngest child.

There is many characters in this book to follow and soon we meet Stephen Blackpool who is in love with his fellow factory worker Rachael. But Stephen has a bit of a problem. He is already married to another woman who he barely sees and soon he is predictably looking for a divorce. However he is told that only the rich can get divorces so he is a bit of a pickle to say the least. And soon we come across James Harthouse who is a rich man from London who comes to Coketown to embark on his career in politics following Gradgrind who has progressed to parliament. Harthouse sets about making it happen with her and corrupt her into the bargain.

Stephen goes against The Hands on joining the union and he is let go from the Hands and Bounderby sacks him after not agreeing to spy on them. Louisa who has a human element to her likes Stephen’s humanity and helps him with money before he is to depart from Coketown. Tom tells Stephen that more help will come if he waits outside the bank but no further help arrives and the bank is robbed leaving Stephen as the main suspect.

Harthouse is seen telling Louisa that he loves her by Mrs. Sparsit and soon Louisa tells her father of how the way he reared her has ensured that she is married to a man she doesn’t love.

 

This book is so rich and filled with so much about class and how the absence of emotion and basic human feeling ensures a half life. In so many ways with this book it feels like Dickens wrote it way before his time. My favourite characters were Louisa, Stephen and Sissy. They were characters with hearts and humanity in amongst people who were behaving like self-interested robots. This is quite a long book but incredibly interesting and beautifully crafted so it is worth giving some time to. Look on the bright side though, it isn’t as long as David Copperfield which I still need to read! 🙂 It shows that love as well as creativity are things are to be valued and not made out to mean nothing.
A brilliant and thought-provoking read.
To read Hard Times by Charles Dickens go to:
And to learn more about Charles Dickens and his work go to: