Sunday, December 30, 2012

Anita Birt's Note Book

It is close to the end of 2012.

A small flock of brown pelicans visited Victoria in December but when the temperature dropped they flew south. I enjoyed watching them flying in formation or singly. Yesterday brought an unusual sight. As I set out on my walk by the sea a swan appeared, swimming from west to east. Where it came from is a mystery since there are no swan ponds near by.

There are swans in Beacon Hill Park but if the swan came from there, it is way off base. I imagined a swan with an injured wing trying to get to the park and could not fly up over the cliff. I pictured it climbing up the steep slope. There is a little children's story here that I might flesh out. A courageous swan is lost and is determined to find her way home. I decided to make her a female.

She is beset by ducks when she swims into their territory. They flap their wings at her and hiss through their beaks. One or two peck at her but she fights back. She is bigger than the ducks and hisses back at them. But she is sad and wants her swan family. She has a mate at the pond and their cygnets are nearly full grown. A tall man standing on the breakwater raised his bow and shot an arrow at her that grazed her left wing. "Try again, Dad," a boy shouted. "Try and kill her." I'm pretty sure it is illegal to kill swans and an off duty cop sees what is happening and charges the bow hunter. Why would anyone want to hurt a swan?

Her wing is painful and she is tired from paddling in the cold sea water, her legs are weary and she makes her way to the rocky shore where great monstrous logs are piled up on the gravel beach. How can she fly over them?

And that is as far as I shall go to-day.

Have a happy and safe New Year celebration. Celebrate on Tuesday as the holidays wind down and buy my e-books. Have a peaceful read. Find my books at:


Friday, December 28, 2012

Anita Birt's Note Book

December 28, 2012.

To-day I have attached my new licence plate decal to my car. It's a fiddly little job. I wash off the place for the decal and make sure it's clean before sticking on the new one. And that is my excitement for to-day. I had a good long walk and the weather is grey and drear with a chilly breeze. I'm looking forward to spring already and winter has barely started.

However, there is a gorgeous rhodo bush in full bloom at the edge of Beacon Hill park. A treat for my eyes. I didn't see a single pelican to-day. If they had an ounce of sense they'd be flying south to warmer climes.

I am planning to comment on how south Wales seemed to me when I lived there in 1944. Nothing much had change in the small village of Penpedairheol from where my husband lived there as a boy. The mines were still operating and I was shocked to see teenaged boys coming home from the colliery covered in black coal dust. Pit head baths were a novelty, their eventual arrival was much appreciated by the miners' wives. No more bath tubs to scrub clean. If the house had a bath tub?

More of that another time. If any Welsh men and women read this, I'd like to hear from you. When oil was discovered in the North Sea the coal mines gradually closed. A huge life change for miners and their families.

I hope you are buying my books and making me happy. I'm not writing romance novels now and am  in a bit of limbo wondering what to write next. The urge to create stories is still there but finding the right focus is my problem.

If you are Welsh, do tell me your story. If you leave a comment I shall send you my e-mail address to read your story.

I wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year. 2014 is just around the corner. Time flies.


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Anita Birt's Note Book

December 25th. It's Christmas Day.

 Hello everyone from Vancouver Island where the sea is heaving in great swells and a strong wind is blowing. I shall not venture out. We have pelicans flying over the sea. They are new to the area and may, or may not stay for the winter. Not a sign of a humming bird though. I plan to hang up a feeder for them in 2013. They need encouragement for there is precious little for them to feed on during the grey winter months.

A small flock of robins passed by two days ago. Some stay but most cross the Strait and head for better berries and bugs to eat.

I received two books for Christmas. RIN TIN TIN by Susan Orlean. I am partial to German shepherds. We owned Kim, a German shepherd,  until she died when she was ten years old. A lovely animal and protective of the family. The other book, "TRUST YOUR EYES," a thriller by Linwood Barclay. With the books awaiting on my Kindle and a couple of print books in my bookcase I have enough reading material for 2013.

In a fit of reading madness, I have ordered from Munro's Books, "The Stardust  Revolution: The New Story of Our Origin in the Stars."

So, what are you reading? Is anyone out clinging to life? I'd love to hear from you. Maybe we can inspire each other to read even when our eyes are tired.

Google this: WHY CAN'T I OWN A CANADIAN? and prepare to smile or even laugh out loud.

Dreadful news from the States with killings to break the heart. Are there more crazy people in the States than in Canada? Or do crazy people have access to guns of every description? As for NRA! Their spokesman sounds insane. He advocates more guns, for God's sake. Who will be the next victims?

To change the subject to something a little more cheery. Keep buying my books either in book or e-format. A VERY DIFFICULT MAN, ISABELLE'S DIARY, ISABELLE'S STORY, RING AROUND THE MOON AND TOO YOUNG TO DIE.

TOO YOUNG TO DIE  is a page turner. Imagine a young woman, a nanny. She has to escape from killers and heads into the forest in the Cascade Mountains in Washington with a three months old baby in her arms - at midnight.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Anita Birt's Note Book

I live in a retirement community and our librarian asked us write about a memorable Christmas  I decided to write about my first Christmas in Wales.


After crossing the Atlantic safely in late August and early September, 1944, I journeyed to South Wales to stay with my mother-in-law, Mam, and my husband, Bill's two sisters, Betty and Dossi, until the end of the war.

As Christmas approached we decorated the two downstairs rooms with paper streamers. Instead of pine cones our house was brilliant with branches of holly trees gathered from the nearby woods. Their red berries glowed. We had no spare coal to light fires in two rooms. Coal was rationed. Bill was home on four day's leave and the rain had stopped.

Mam's neighbours, the Moss family, kept a small flock of chickens. Food for the birds was strictly controlled and the flock carefully monitored by the authorities but Mr. Moss managed to secure a fine, fat cockerel for our dinner.

The pudding in a china basin and tightly wrapped in a white cloth burbled and steamed in a copper in the shed on Christmas day. The mouth-watering scent of roasting chicken tantalized our taste buds. The stuffing, the vegetables and gravy were perfect and little was left of the chicken at meal's end.

We cleared the table; time for the fruit-rich pudding freed from its shroud. Bill drizzled brandy over it, struck a match and touched the brandy, a blue flame flickered briefly and we clapped our hands. It was a grand, joyful Christmas.

My parents in Canada had sent butter and and dried fruits for cake making. Mam made the cakes and other goodies. The Christmas cake was topped with marzipan and finished with white icing. Small figurines, tiny green trees and small colourful baby-sized boxes populated the top of the cake.

Mam's brothers, their wives and children visited later in the day to enjoy a piece of cake and cup of tea. The Birt and Kitt families had made me welcome on my arrival in September. I loved them dearly.

A month or so later I cut some holly branches to brighten the house. As I entered, Mam snatched them from my hands and threw them out. "It's bad luck to bring holly into the house when it's not Christmas."

Merry Christmas from Anita

Friday, December 14, 2012

Anita Birt's Note Book

I read in the paper to-day about a man who can recall 59 decks of playing cards. I have trouble imagine any thing more boring than inviting this man to a party where he will demonstrate his skill. I'd have to drink myself under a table, clamp my hands over my ears and prayer for deliverance. There are worldwide contests where memory skills are tested. Who knew? To prepare for memory Olympics means practicing hours every day.

"It's your turn to take out the garbage, dear." Says wife in a caustic tone.
"Damn it all, you've made me lose my memory thread."
"Stuff your memory thread," says wife storming out the door. "I'm of to Vegas for a quickie divorce. The man next door is going with me."
"No, No," cries her husband. "I'll come with memorize the numbers played and work out the winning permutations."

Why remember numbers when learning speeches from a Shakespeare play is much more interesting. Or a poem. Or the Gettysburg address. My favourite poem at the moment is by A.A. Milne, "King John's Christmas."

"King John was not a good man,
He had his little ways,
And sometimes no one spoke to him,
For days and days and days."

I am on the fourth verse. Pick out something to learn. Something to refresh your memory. And let me know how you are doing. No prizes only Christmas greetings and a virtual hug.

You are, I hope purchasing my books. A book is a wonderful gift. Better than a box of chocolates! We won't go there. Or how about a book and a box of chocolates.


Thursday, December 6, 2012