On this day 100 years ago…

On this day 100 years ago today a battle begun, one which would see thousands killed, and family histories forever changed, including mine.

When I started doing my family tree I began with my mums side, unusual as it is often easier to trace back the family name but my gran was still alive and could help me on that side, but curiosity did get the better of me and I wanted to know why my dad knew nothing of his family, why I could not remember my granddad ever talking about his family, although there was one brother who visited him. My dad was reticent, I think he suspected some terrible dark skeleton hidden in the closet. What I found was a man who went off to fight a war in a country he would never leave and do it for a country that would, at a later date put up signs barring those with his heritage.

In 1877 of Irish immigrant parents, Michael Acton was born in Newcastle-Under-Lyme, Staffordshire. Making his way north through Lancaster he ended up in Castleford, where he met and married my great-grandmother Fanny Wall. Together they had five children, frustratingly I cannot find the document I had with his signing up date so I cannot be sure if he ever saw his youngest child before he left for war.

As a coal miner I think it unlikely he would have been conscripted and I am pretty sure from what I remember of my research at the time he signed up before conscription begun, just another man who wanted to what he believed was the right thing and make the world a better place for his family. Maybe he was naive and believed the home by Christmas posters, maybe he thought by fighting for the country his Irish heritage might be overlooked as he sought to provide for his family we will never know because my granddad was only 7 years old when his dad left to fight for freedom on foreign soil and he would never see him again.

My dad only ever saw one photo of his granddad, a big blonde haired Irish man standing next to a horse and cart in the photo, he had asked his dad who it was only to be told it was his granddad and the matter dropped. No one knows what happened to the photo, my aunt does not recall seeing it and she checked the photos she took from the house when it was cleared and cannot find it, maybe another relative has it, maybe it got lost, tucked inside something thrown away as unimportant. It is the truth that there were not as many photos back then, certainly very few people could afford to have them taken and no one had personal camera’s, I like to think somewhere in other branches of the family they do exist because in some ways there is nothing left other than a few words on census records, and on military records. There is no grave to lay flowers at, and though biologically he lives on through me, my siblings and our children, the name is passed on less and less over time, my son bears his fathers surname and while my daughter does have it eventually she will marry and change it and her children will more than likely not take it forward, from our branch only my brothers sons will carry it forth.

But I digress, so a man sets out, leaves his loved ones behind, I doubt any of them really though of the circumstances they would end up in, if he had left expecting to leave his wife a widow and children fatherless could he have still signed that bit of paper? Maybe he believed they would be looked after, from stories my Aunt remembers that was not always the case, my granddad spoke bitterly of the priest coming round and taking the last penny from the fireplace, I was christened Church of England, it never crossed my mind we would be anything else but piecing together the facts and anecdotes my Aunt knew, we came to a conclusion the Acton’s who came from Ireland, travelled from County Galway to a new life in England were probably Catholic, I confess it came as a bit of a shock and we have no technical proof at the minute but it does make some things fall into place. It is also worth noting the names O’Brien and Connor also feature down that family tree which adds a little more circumstantial weight to that hypothesis.

So what do I know about this man well very little other than these few pieces of information..

1262_00544Dead! A simple four letter word that changed so much, but it get worse because normally when a loved one dies you have a grave, somewhere to lie flowers and acknowledge they lived but not for him. There was no body, no resting place his wife and children could visit instead he is commemorated in a cemetery in France, Thiepval, along with thousands of others who never came home,

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Instead of returning home to his family they received medals in his honour which could never take the place of flesh and blood, Victory medalWW1_1914_Mons_Star_WWI_ob

A name carved in stone that remembers a man his children never had the chance to know, and for what because some men believe they have the right to determine the fate of others, they think they have the right for power and wealth, because they think they are more worthy than their fellow man and hold others live not only as having no worth but in contempt. Even today around the world there will be families mourning loved ones, killed for standing up for what is right, killed for trusting the words of people who do not care if they live or die. There will be others who die for causes they believe in, believe honourable but they too are wrong. No one should ever have to die for a cause, because the only cause we have any business with in this life or the next is peace, love, tolerance and understanding; whatever your belief system you have no right to judge another person no right to act as your own god and pass sentence. We can only hope that the anniversary of one of the worst conflicts in history can remind us what they fought and died for and that many people from different nations stood together united in the hope that they would make the world a better place for us.

Memorial

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Exciting News!

Today am throwing the schedule out of the window, no TV, you will have noticed no book review yesterday, I was just too excited to post and was not allowed to share my news until after it was announced last night, so drum roll please………..

I have officially been signed up to be one of the signing authors at…

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The event will be taking place in Peterborough in October next year, so we have plenty of time to get really excited and hopefully I can get some interviews with other authors to share here with you as we share this next part of the journey together.

As you know I attended the ball part of the Leeds Event, I could not attend the day signing due to the day job, damn that day job it spoils all the fun, but I did grab an image from the page to share so you can see the set up and get an understanding of just how excited I am to know I will be occupying one of those tables next year.

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I am not going to say too much more here today simply because I will post more tomorrow once it has all soaked in a little more but I cannot keep the smile off my face, here is the first banner and you will see this updated as more authors are signed up and hopefully get to meet a few of them here on my page.

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26 Things About Me

Twenty-six things about me…

I saw this on Archon’s Den and decided to appropriate it especially as you read this I shall be doing the day job then hosting a book launch, if you want to read his answers you can do so here

A- Age: I believe technically you are not supposed to ask a lady her age, but as I rarely get confused for one I shall admit to my 44 years on the planet.

B- Biggest fears: Needles and man made heights, needles I have overcome to a point but man made heights still make me hyperventilate, I can happily stand at the top of a cliff and look out over but ask me to get onto a step ladder and I feel sick

C- Current time: 8.01pm. it is also a Tuesday and so basically when you read this you will be time travelling

D- Drink you last had: Diet coke, I wish it was something more exciting but there you go

E- Every day starts with: A curse and a hit of the snooze button except Sundays that start with the monster usually waking me to ask if he can go downstairs and watch TV

F- Favourite song: So many, I don’t really have one favourite I tend to have favourite songs for different moods at the minute the three most played on my phone are Kylie Minogue Into The Blue, Evanescence Back To Life and Christina Perri A Thousand Years.

G- Ghosts, are they real?: Of course, I have even interacted with a couple.

H- Hometown: If you count home town as the place you live then it is Huddersfield, West Yorkshire but if you count it as the place you were born and your parents live then it is Kippax, Leeds just a few miles down the road.

I- In love with: No one at the minute, unless you count my kids, or Mr Darcy, who I have been in love with since I was about thirteen, I do have a bit of a thing for Sherlock at the minute but am pretty sure that is just lust.

J- Jealous of: At first I thought no one then I sat and thought and the list began, Steven Moffat because he gets to write Doctor Who and Sherlock, Kylie Minogue because of how fabulous she looks, all authors who earn enough from their writing to be able to do it full time as a job, people who can eat what they like and not put on weight… maybe we need to define the type of jealousy lol

K- Killed someone?: Well that would be telling, I mean I could hardly confess here without incriminating myself could I, I will say I have killed lots of people in my head and planned quite a few deaths, my perfect murder weapon is a frozen leg of lamb, I would tell you more but it may be featured in a book at some point.

L- Last time you cried: I cry at every thing these days, animal abuse stories, animal rescue stories, but last time I really broke down and blubbed was when my dog died last September

M- Middle name: Suzanne, I know you were all hoping for something more exciting but there you are don’t blame me I didn’t pick it

N- Number of siblings: 4, three sisters and a brother, I am the oldest and there are 15 years between me and my youngest sister which is the same gap as between my daughter and the monster.

O- One wish: Tempted to do the Miss World answer and go for world peace but not sure if we got it that it would last so instead a cure for cancer or dementia, see I am being fair to the wish fairy there and giving them options.

P- Person you last called: My daughter, she was at my house and I called to tell her to put the quiche in the oven as I was on my way home.

Q- Question you’re always asked: are those your real eyes? Now to be fair they are not actually asking if my eyeballs are real rather I do get a lot of questions about the colour of my eyes and whether I am wearing contact lens, the answer is yes they are and if I am honest not sure I could stand wearing contacts even though I have seen some really cool ones I would love to try especially for Halloween.

R- Reason to smile: lots but if you see me smiling and there is not an obvious one I probably just thought up a really cool way to kill someone!

S- Song last sung: if you mean sung as in someone heard me then happy birthday to the monster last May, if you mean in my own house with the stereo turned up so loud that even the dog does not have my listening inflicted on him, Kylie Into the Blue and I am not just saying it but my singing is actually that bad

T- Time you woke up: 7am when the first alarm went off and I cursed and hit snooze

U- Underwear colour: Black, nearly always black

V- Vacation destination: Not really having one this year but next year USA here I come, well assuming they let me in the country

W- Worst habit: doubting myself, you have no idea how many posts, stories and comments I write and then delete without hitting publish just because I am scared I will let people down that have believed in my abilities.

X- X-Rays you’ve had: think they have all been on my back, plus lots of MRI scans, to the point where the staff actually knew me when I walked in, not sure if that was because I had made a good impression or was notorious

Y- Your favourite food: Chocolate wish I could say something really healthy like quinoa or kale but I believe in being honest

Z- Zoos visited!: Blackpool and Isle of Wight zoo which is technically a tiger sanctuary and you should certainly visit if you are ever on the island, you can find out more about it here, for several years we actually sponsored one of the tigers named Zena

This is not the sort of one where you nominate someone but if you decide to have a go at answering the questions be sure to link back here.

‘Tis The Season

For this month my schedule is pretty much going out of the window but I thought today I would post a couple of pictures summing up the festive season so far here in my home…

!st of December the tree goes up, second of December it came back down again on my head while I was trying to plug window lights in behind it, don't worry though no baubles were broken

!st of December the tree goes up, second of December it came back down again on my head while I was trying to plug window lights in behind it, don’t worry though no baubles were broken

Also first of the month out come the Christmas jumpers, I have two both Who themed

Also first of the month out come the Christmas jumpers, I have two both Who themed

The weather out side is frightful... or something like that I forget how the song goes but best place to be is curled up by the fire, just wish it was a proper coal fire

The weather out side is frightful… or something like that I forget how the song goes but best place to be is curled up by the fire, just wish it was a proper coal fire

I am loving these 'Figgy Pudding' candles from Sainsburys I don't like the pudding itself but the smell from these is glorious

I am loving these ‘Figgy Pudding’ candles from Sainsburys I don’t like the pudding itself but the smell from these is glorious

For those on my FB and Instagram you will have seen my wonky candle issue, but no worries the situation has been resolved, also notice the wonderful card there from a certain Lord David Prosser which I was thrilled to receive

For those on my FB and Instagram you will have seen my wonky candle issue, but no worries the situation has been resolved, also notice the wonderful card there from a certain Lord David Prosser which I was thrilled to receive

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Final picture for this week is a monster turkey! Due to safeguarding no pictures from during the play just this one and a mummy/monster selfie taken after

 

Hope you are all having a wonderful run up to the festive period, normal service will resume in after Christmas but until then I am going to go with the random posting  😀

Love-Hate Challenge!

Today something a little different, SJ over at Delirious Anecdotes has nominated me for the Love-Hate Challenge which consists of the nominee posting three lists: ten things they love; ten things they hate; ten people they nominate for the challenge. You can check out SJ’s lists here Love-Hate.

So list number one ten things I love…

 1)  Really obvious the first one, my kids, not really much to say on that but I have been blessed with two incredible kids I know my daughter does not get mentioned as much on here as the monster but she refuses to co-operate with videos and photos lol.

 2) My friends, as well as great kids I have also been so lucky as to meet and get to know some incredible people over the years, some have been in my life for a long time some I have only known a short time, some I have never met in person but our cyber interactions have meant that they have become very special to me and my family and it is only a matter of time until we meet in the flesh. This is a picture of me and my best friend taken at her wedding anniversary on last Saturday, we have been friends for around 19 years and pretty much been to hell and back together in that time.

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3) The Furries – obviously the dogs frequently make appearances in the vlogs but there are also the two guinea pigs, I am a huge believer that all children should be brought up with pets, it teaches them love, compassion and responsibility, I feel sadly too many people in this world lack those attributes they are brought up in houses that are not homes but showrooms designed to show off material possessions rather than to be a place that teaches the values that would make this world a better place.

4) Walking in woods – I grew up in the countryside and there is nothing as exhilarating as walking through woods and letting the minds create a million stories for every little noise, this is the monster sat at the beck at the beginning of a walk heading to the woods I spent lots of time in as a child and if anyone wants to write a story about this picture link it back to me please.

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5) Books, it will not surprise anyone I love a good book but even the bad ones serve a purpose, after all how do you know what is good and what is bad if you do not experience both, TV and films may provide entertainment in a more immediate form but they will never stimulate the brain as a book can, a book makes you think for yourself, create visual images of the characters, locations and envision the action it makes you debate if they have taken the right path, should they trust that character or believe a different one.  You can read a good book a hundred times and still find something new to take from it as our understand alters over the years.

 6) Music – First let me state I do not have a musical bone in my body in terms of actual playing music but I love listening to it. I love classical music that stirs the emotions, pop music that has me twirling around my room dancing and singing (though only when the music is so loud it means I cannot be heard) or even the musical scores of films that allow you to close our eyes and re-imagine your favourite scenes. Here is one to give you an idea of what I mean…

 7)  Doctor Who – No surprise for you all there, but what I love about this as much as the show itself is that it is a love and passion I get to share with both my kids and in November we are going to the Excel centre in London for the Doctor Who Festival, and hopefully spending the weekend down there exploring.

 8)  The sea – I grew up going on day trips to the seaside every weekend more or less, then when I was about ten my grandparents moved to the Isle of Wight and my love of the sea continued to grow, I love going out on boats and big waves no problem, the only time I ever felt sea sick was coming back from France stuck out side the harbour because of bad weather and that was because I was stuck below, unable to see the sea itself.

 9) Taking photographs – this will not surprise most of you who have followed my blog for any length of time, in fact for quite a while I was posting on a separate blog sharing my photos which I really should consider staring up again.  One of the perks of my newsletter is the promise of at least one photo that is unpublished anywhere else, last month was a butterfly and though I will not post that picture here I will post one from the same shoot which is almost as good as the newsletter one.

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10 

Ten things I hate.

 1) Hate – yes I hate hate lol I guess really it should read intolerance because there are times where real hate is understandable, if someone has killed your loved one but to hate en masse because of colour, religion or sexuality is wrong, wrong and ignorant.  Society is becoming more accepting when it comes to colour but let’s face it that has taken a long time and is still not quite there. Religion well again if truth be told most have more in common than different and if all the religions of the world stuff to the actual words spoken by their Gods rather than the interpretations given by men telling them what God meant or what they say God told them then the world would be a better place and a lot more peaceful, but it is also up to the majority of followers of all religions to stand up and refuse to allow their religions to be hijacked by the extremists on all sides, listen to ISIS and to the Westboro Baptist Churches you will find the only difference is the way they spread their messages, the messages themselves are not very different.  The issues with sexuality are usually fuelled by religion but again it really is very very simple, if you don’t agree with a homosexual lifestyle, don’t have one! If you don’t agree with gay marriage don’t have one! Leave the judgement to which ever higher power you believe in and get on with worrying about your own life and making that the best it can be, this is my best friend and her wife at their wedding anniversary last week, they believe in marriage, I don’t but guess what I still support their choice to do it even if I don’t want to but then again maybe I should demand all marriage be banned because I don’t agree with it?

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 2) Waiting in for parcels – why is it if you are waiting for a parcel but also need to go somewhere it will not arrive until late afternoon but if you are planning a day at home anyway it will arrive first thing in the morning?

 3) Cancer – if there were one thing I could wave a magic wand and change it this world it would be to remove this disease, I know there would still be others but the money we donate to research could be given to wipe out other illnesses but this evil seems to continue to take so many lives and it’s cruelty at letting people get better before striking them down again makes it particularly malicious.

4) Snow – now don’t get me wrong, as a kid I loved building snow men and sledging but what I hate about snow as an adult here in the UK is that everything stops with the first flurry.  Schools shut, buses stop but bosses still expect you to sort out child care and get to work.  It usually has been predicted yet the councils fail to get the roads gritted in advance and it gets very annoying and frustrating

5)  Clothes shopping – When I was thinner I loved clothes shopping I could walk into any shop and find something I like but once you are a certain size your options reduce considerably, much of the time you are reduced to one or two shops or shopping online and most of the time you will be paying more for decent clothes, yes I know there is more material involved but not as much as they charge you for.

 6) Fleas – I have two dogs as you know and the battle against these evil critters is an epic one, first it costs a fortune over the year roughly £200 just on the Frontline I apply on the dogs but because we have foxes that live where we do and other mite carrying wild life there are also the sprays etc to ensure they do not carry the odd one back into the house after walks, and secondly the fact that just thinking about them has you scratching for hours even when you know there are none there. Why can they not work out a why to rid us of these creatures for once and for all, I cannot see anyone getting upset at there extinction or mounting a save the flea campaign.  Maybe if we could persuade hunters that the true symbol of their skills is a mounted flea of a board?????

 7) Pets getting old – Boris is now 16 and I know his days with us are numbered and I hate it, I hate that the chances are I will be faced with the choice to make between breaking my own heart and ending his pain and it sucks.

 8) Rain when you have to go to work – I love the rain when I can sit and watch it from inside or even spin round in it in my garden but I hate it when you are heading to work then have to sit their in damp clothes and wet shoes for hours.

 9) When your computer decides to shut down and for some reason autosave decides to take a break and go on holiday – I know I don’t need to explain that any further to you guys.

10) When WordPress and other social media sites decide they want to change things and don’t give you the option they just change things for you and usually make things harder to use!

Ten Nominees – I cheated and used the next ten blogs I read while writing this lol

 1) Lindaghill

 2) Mari Wells

 3) Willowdot21

 4) Josh Mosey

 5) Lucy Williams

 6) Valentine Logar

 7) David Stewart

 8) Lord David Prosser

 9) C.B. Wentworth

10) M S Fowle

Available on Pre-release!

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Here is the blurb bit…

A series of short stories about when the fairy tale ends and everything falls apart. Love, death and revenge all feature in these tales where not everything is as it seems…

You can find me and the book on

Amazon.co.uk here

Amazon.com here

And the book is available across all Amazon market places.  If anyone speaks French or German and wants to check out the translation on those pages please let me know if Google translate has done a good job.

As announced yesterday the release date will be… drumroll please…

Saturday 1st August 2015

I thought these stories would make quite a good beach/holiday read.  They are short enough you can pick it up read a page or two and put it down without losing your thread and although there are no happy endings, well there are a couple that will make you smile. Please give me your feed back, does the blurb need more? Does the bio on my author pages read okay?

Lest We Forget

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Today at 11am I shall like thousands of others fall silent in remembrance of those who gave their lives during the two World Wars, I wear my poppy with pride but this year there have been many issues which have caused me to think about what this means to others.

Firstly the threats made to young poppy sellers in various locations that physical violence would be done to them for selling this symbol of respect for fallen soldiers, my initial response it to be outraged by this and of course the threat of violence by anyone is totally reprehensible but does it also damned questions be asked?

When One Direction wore poppies during their X-factor performances at the weekend their followers flooded Twitter completely unaware of what the ‘red flowers’ symbolised.  It leaves the question are these our own children who are ignorant of what the Poppy stands for or are the people asking the question simply from other countries and unaware of our custom?  But another news story then grabbed my attention, that of footballer James McClean who refused to wear a poppy and has received abuse despite an open letter explaining his reasons.  His reason for his refusal is simple that while he fully supports the original purpose of the poppy to show respect and support for those who fought and fell in the two world wars that he cannot support it’s attachment now to all who have fallen in conflict.

While for the majority of us that new distinction does not really matter for many others it does, James McClean grew up in Northern Ireland through the worst of the troubles for him Bloody Sunday was more than a U2 song, many recent conflicts have been controversial as far as many people are concerned but again I reiterate none of that justifies threats.  What it does justify is the right of people not to wear a poppy, infact my Great Grandad died in a field in a foreign country to ensure you have the freedom to choose whether you wear a poppy or not. poppyboxa

Some people are taking a different tack and promoting White poppies to remember the victims of war and those non combatants who died and again I have no problem with this but once again it has to be stated that tragically lives had to be lost to ensure they have the freedom to reflect on the loss of innocent lives.

I am not sure if there needs to be different colour poppies to distinguish whether you respect the fallen or the innocent or just the fallen in certain wars, surely the most important lesson we should have learnt from all those who have lost their lives in conflict regardless of when, where or how is to respect the living, to agree to disagree without resorting to threats of violence.

Personally my only regret this year is that I cannot make it to the Tower of London to see the ceramic poppy field they have created to mark the centenary of the First World War sadly it will be taken down in a few days time, I think it should stand in remembrance and honour until the centenary of the end of the war but hey who asked for my opinion lol.

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I choose to wear my poppy with pride I refuse to allow it to be hijacked by political groups and to allow them to change what it stands for to me, and at the end of the day we can only be responsible for ourselves, we cannot know another’s heart and should never judge another unless the are directly doing us harm.  If you choose not to wear one I do not judge you for I do not know your story but I expect you not to judge me for my choice to do so, and I ask also that you remember how we retained to freedom to have our differing opinions.  But if you want to know my story this is why I wear my poppy…Memorial

My New Camera Arrived

First apologies if you saw the title and expected a Vlog, basically it was delivered just before I left for work yesterday, then this morning I have been running round after a small child who decided to throw up every where during the night so the chances of filming anything went straight out of the window.  However I hope to film something to put up on Sunday but instead today I thought I would share my initial thoughts on the camera.

sony-cyber-shot-dsc-h300-advance-point-and-shoot-400x400-imadpzjmczsn6tegFirst thing I noticed was the ‘wet look’, the mottled black finish looks a little strange to me and the actual camera feels a little cold when touching the body rather than the grip, and I have to say it is heavier than my old Olympus.  This is the H300 model rather than the newer HX300 simply because with Christmas coming up I decided I didn’t want to spare the extra cash at the minute especially on a make I have not owned before (not counting a Walkman).

It does have some features I really like already such as the fact I can zoom while filming and it auto focuses as it tracks plus the pop up flash which is easier to press the button than physically have to flip it up as I did previously.

sony-digital-camera-dsc-h300-black-Simple well spaced buttons on both the back and the top should make it easy to use, I was looking at a different camera but they had the on off right next to the button to film video so it would be awkward in a rush and I could have accidentally hit the wrong one.

Technology has moved on a lot since I bought the Olympus and it has served me well in the four years I had it, it has filmed hours of video footage and taken thousands of photos and I certainly consider I got my money’s worth but because of not wanting to splash out big money this side of Christmas I found I had no choice but to try another make.  So far the only real negative I could complain about it that the zoom is quite noisy  and that it does take a few seconds to focus if you are zooming to the limit of it’s capabilities.

Anyway we shall see what he filming quality is like over the weekend.

Quick Catch Up

First apologies yet again for going quiet but as you will see have been busy editing videos. Second has anyone else ended up on the blue screen to write a new post I don’t like it and want my normal one back.

This weekend saw our first event with our new work charity partner, this year the Huddersfield Down Syndrome Support Group get our support and a great day was had by all but you don’t have to take my word for it watch the video I shall post at the end of this post.

I also got to collect my T-Shirts that were my reward for pledging as part of a Kickstarter to save one of our local shops, I was guilty of one of the greatest crimes effecting small businesses, apathy, I always assumed the shop would be there, I would see something I liked but put it off for the next payday, luckily our shop was saved and hopefully we have all learnt that very important lesson “Use it or Lose it!” For my Tees I got one Doctor Who one and another which I designed from the Charity Anthology cover…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And yes I know after a weekend in a bag I should have ironed them before taking the pictures lol

A quiet week this week for me playing catch up with writing and house work before getting excited for the athletics next week!