There is no other word or phrase for it, my left arm has been feeling numb, weird or ‘dead’ for about three weeks. I’ve had MS for more than fifteen years, and this weird feeling in my arm reminds me of before I was diagnosed. This current arm thing is a nuisance rather than something I need medication for.
BUT… but, it is more noticeable at night and as a result I haven’t been sleeping properly.
All of my life, I have had what I now know to be a ‘slow wave parasomnia’ – shouting out in my sleep. I ‘see’ windows falling in, spiders, and other weird things flying at my face. This first became a problem when I was 22 and my daughter was born (she is 23 now and talks in her sleep but it’s not as bad as me).
Anyway, the other night, I thought I saw my husband crouching down next to me. I thought (in my half sleep state) what are you doing there? So I reached out and put my hand on his shoulder. When my hand went through ‘him’, this woke me and I realised ‘oh, it’s just one of my weird sleep things’ I turned on my other side, and there husband was, fast asleep and oblivious to the apparition that my sleep had just caused.
Until I let him know what had happened the following day. ‘You are so weird’ he said to me. Well, I think that I only have myself to blame for what happened next…
Last night, I had trouble sleeping again, couldn’t get comfy, arm felt weird etc. I heard our dog walking about, which usually means she wants to be let out in the night. Then the cat started running around. This was about 2.30am. I got up, despite me going to the effort of walking downstairs (which is no mean feat when you’ve got MS and your legs are asleep) Martha, our Border terrier stood stationary at the top of the stairs staring at me with her massive brown eyes, a-la a tired child.
Eventually, I fell back to sleep. I was having a dream that I was drinking red wine out of a plastic pint glass. I don’t even like red wine, and in the dream, someone came up to me and offered me a Prosecco. All of a sudden, there was a lot of shouting and then, a pillow was thrown over my head and landed on my bedside cabinet (in real life).
THE SAME THING HAD HAPPENED TO MR HENTHORN!
My husband was having a dream that I was stood over him blowing in his face! Except he didn’t think it was a dream because he thought he could really see me and threw the pillow at me, or where I thought I was, this went over my head. When I protested he said:
‘Oh, are you saying you didn’t just do that to me, you weirdo?’ he was still dreaming I think.
I said : ‘I was having a dream about drinking Prosecco!’ (to be fair I was half asleep and may have just mumbled).
‘Oh, maybe I dreamt it then!’ Mr Henthorn said. We laughed, I’m still laughing about it now.
Great, now I’ve passed on my weird sleep problem.
Not a mini-drama, but Petal cat who is a 14 year old stay at home kind of cat has started meowing to go out. She never does this, she even made out that she was hunting a bird the other day. The mind boggles.
Petal and Martha chilling in Alicia’s room.
So you see, I live in a sitcom, or a soap opera at least.
Earlier this year, I published a collection with some friends called ‘What We Did During Lockdown’ . I got some feedback from a US reader that he thought it was ‘hilarious’ that I had called ‘loo roll’ ‘loo roll’ in my story. Well, what was I supposed to call it? Toilet paper? I never got to the bottom (lol) of it, and was left wondering, what do they call loo roll in America?
During 2020, I have become ever more observant of my own home – as I’m sure we all have. Just recently, I am convinced that my ghost has returned. I wrote about a ghost in my house three or four years ago, because there was a fragrance hanging around just like at my great auntie’s house, my puppy’s toys were all in a neat order and there was bathroom cleaner all over the bath (that I hadn’t done).
This time, I am convinced the ghost is stealing my loo roll (or whatever you call it in your country). Here is the evidence:
You can clearly see from this photograph that my cupboard is half empty, yet earlier that day, it was completely full.
No, I don’t have a loo roll obsession or live with someone who uses excessive amounts. There is just three of us here, my husband, my grown up daughter and me.
The other thing I noticed, a book has gone missing.I never lend books to people.
After something someone said to me when I was still working, I became interested in learning about Buffalo Bill’s Wild West tour (particularly the European leg). This is what the book that has gone missing from my house was about.
Here is the evidence:
You can clearly see a gap in between an encyclopedia of flowers that my dad gave me, and a redundant CD player shaped like a juke box. The ghost has been very sneaky here because I never look on this bottom shelf (and this is where the book has gone missing from).
I hope not, but I think my washing machine has broken again.
This is not the work of a ghost, this is my husband leaving pound coins in his jeans pockets.
I am a voracious reader, always adding adding and adding to my reading list, and two years ago, I joined BookFunnel which lead to me joining a lot of author mailing lists. Now HERE is mine!
But enough about me, here’s why I think fans of my series, Curmudgeon Avenue need to join my mailing list.
The residents are idiots, the city is in lockdown. Will they cope with the global pandemic?
Available free to mailing list subscribers is Curmudgeon Avenue #5.5 ‘Curmudgeon Avenue’s Manchester Lockdown’ . Get it by clicking HERE
The reason this volume is free to my mailing list, is because I had hesitated writing about the big global mess, but eventually I gave in (mainly when the phrase ‘new normal’ started popping up). Personally, I would not make light of Covid-19 but, folks need a bit of lighthearted escapism.
And when I say folks, I mean fans of Curmudgeon Avenue.
Curmudgeon Avenue is a social satire about a house that dislikes its owners.
So come on down, join my mailing list and grab yourself a free book, innit! (As Tanya Rose of Curmudgeon Avenue would say).
An early Halloween memory for me is that a primary school teacher dressed the classroom windows with silhouette Halloween images.. Ahh, when the October sunlight shone on a northern prefabricated primary school… Those little cardboard cut out witches were real!
that my book, The Ghosts of Curmudgeon Avenue is happy to be a part of
Even though The Ghosts of Curmudgeon Avenue is fourth in the series, I actually knew that the initial three books were building up to this. The ‘this’ being the actual ghosts of Curmudgeon Avenue. (The clue’s in the title, some of the Avenue’s residents die, and then come back as ghosts).
This is the book where Harold, Edith and Edna return to Curmudgeon Avenue… after their own funerals.
Edith doesn’t know she’s a ghost until she chats to her grieving friend Patchouli in the bathroom.
I had great fun writing The Ghosts of Curmudgeon Avenue. Love can often be chaotic, confusing and nonsensical. The Ghosts of Curmudgeon Avenue is a great one for those who are wondering what on earth is going wrong with their love life. (It’s probably a ghost)
Ghosts, raucous family drama, humour, sex, secrets and scandal.
I like this story, with its quirky, varied characters, fantasy-inspired plot, and irreverent commentary on life, death love, marriage, relationships and sex. (Amazon reviewer).
Yesterday, I had fun reading the 19th century reviews of Bleak House by Charles Dickens. Blimey, they didn’t review in Victorian times – they berated!
I read that George Henry Lewes told off Dickens for killing off Mr Krook by spontaneous combustion. I won’t quote the actual review but basically, Mr Lewes argued that spontaneous combustion ‘Could not possibly be’ (Quote taken from the Penguin Classics version of Bleak House edited by Nicola Bradbury in 2003). Well, it turns out that Charles Dickens wrote back to George Henry Lewes (who was married to George Elliot) and so the critique letters continued.
Just for fun, I also enjoyed Charlotte Bronte’s critique on of Dickens’s Esther Summerson ‘Twaddling’ that is the word that Charlotte Bronte made up, let’s have it again ‘TWADDLING’..
Book reviews are both the holy grail and the thorn in the side of all indie authors.
My books have had some great reviews, some invisible reviews (I think that free books should generate compulsory reviews – but what do I know?) and some rude and awful reviews – I won’t go into it.
Remember, reviews are for your fellow readers, you are not writing a complaint to the author.
The other problem I have encountered is reviewers copying and pasting another person’s review and adding it to their own. You can’t all say exactly the same thing? Surely? Again, it’s not fair on your reading friends if you do this.
For what it’s worth, this is what I think:
It is not Dickensian times anymore, please don’t ‘tell off’ authors.
Reviews should be written to recommend a book to your fellow readers.
I do get along with my next door neighbours, they are always singing. I wish I could sing, I think they do too… now for some real HORRORS NEXT DOOR
Horrors Next Door is a collection of short Mysterious, Psychological, Suspenseful, and Horror stories that will arouse your senses and puzzle your mind. Some of the stories are inspired by true events. Find out which ones inside this scary collection. Check out the full collection here: https://amzn.to/2zg4JZB
“Night Visitors” Once or twice a year, dark creatures show up at the foot of Annie`s bed and take her with them to conduct grisly experiments on her. This is happening for years now. She doesn’t understand who they are and why they do this. But this, last time, it’s different. This time she gets the answers, and nothing on Earth will be the same afterward.
“The House Next Door” Mr. Spaulding looks like an ordinary old grumpy neighbor with a penchant for growing roses, but he has a dark secret hidden deep inside of his house. A secret no one knows about. Sarah decides to find out if he is just a sweet lonely widower or a twisted man with a mysterious past. What she encounters at his house is beyond her wildest dreams, but this is a nightmare which she can’t wake up from.
And many more…
“I’m not even done reading it, and I’m rating it 5 stars. It’s keeping me up at night because I don’t want to stop reading.” “This book is horror redefined. Dark and with more twists than a labyrinth. I look forward to reading more from this author.” “Each story has a unique twist. Sure to please especially for late-night reads. Good writing skills too. Will read again!”
My spooky little review: 4*s
The first short story, ‘Night Visitors’ is truly chilling – especially right at the end. It is the stuff of horrific abduction documentaries. My favourite was ‘Agatha’ and her flame-coloured hair. I do love a female protagonist with special powers, but these are not the kind of powers anyone would want. I particularly liked the grandmother setting/plotline. ‘The Mask’ lasted for nine chapters, I realise there are no rules, but my little reading brain was already in short story mode by then, and so I was expecting the ending before the ending! Good story though. Mr Spaulding’s haunted house ties the collection up nicely, or should I say creepily?
Mr Henthorn, it is fair to say, is living his best life. 2020 has been a tough year for all of us, you have to make the best of it. So when we found out that we would be spending more time at home this year, my husband set his mind to work improving our home.
Sometimes, the old faithful things are the best. This is a photo of our current barbeque:
Above is a photo of my husband’s dream, a big fancy bbq is like my version of having a portable TV in the kitchen (like on American films in the 80s)
So, after doing a good half a day’s worth of research, Mr Henthorn chose his barbeque (the big fancy variety) and ordered it from a leading UK DIY and home improvement retailer.
A few weeks later, the doorbell rang – the BBQ was here!
Except there was a problem, Delivery driver number one noticed that both boxes were exactly the same box. The picker packers had only gone and sent two of box number two! What a palaver.
Delivery driver gets on the blower (he told me three call handlers were trying to speak at the same time). I was advised to accept one of the boxes, ring customer services myself and try and get box number one delivered.
Obviously, I immediately phoned Mr Henthorn to inform him that a major mini-drama had happened at our house. He phoned (several times) emailed, and phoned again. It went on and on and on. One customer services call handler advised him to open the box that we had to see if it contained the whole BBQ.
THEN we were told that the rest of the bbq (box one) was not in stock! So we had to admit defeat, and send box two back for a full refund. All we can deduce is that someone, somewhere in the UK has accepted delivery of the other half of our BBQ.
By the time the leading home and DIY retailer came to collect the fated box two, it was mid September.
Obviously, other mini-dramas happened in the garden this year.
Last year, I grew tomatoes from packet seeds, from seeds I had saved myself from a tomato and from a tomato bush bought from a supermarket. All of them fruited. However, one night, Mr Henthorn announced that none of my tomatoes had grown which was a complete lie (and he wouldn’t know anyway because he never went in the greenhouse). NOT ONLY did I have to listen to a long lecture about how to grow tomatoes, I decided there and then that I would never try and grow them again.
A small portion of last year’s tomatoes above.
Having decided I was never going to grow tomatoes again, this year I planted some pea seeds. I have grown peas before
Soon, green shoots appeared in the green house – a lot of green shoots, the leaves soon followed and instead of pea shoots, I had blummin’ tomatoes again! (Magic – or probably because I used compost to plant – our compost bin would have had last year’s tomato plants plus their seeds (despite Mr Henthorn claiming that I didn’t grow any).
This year’s unexpected tomatoes. What a liberty.
Speaking of our compost bin…
Remember back in the summer when it was announced that you could meet up with a few people in your garden (a bubble)? We did that, and on this sunny day, a massive amount of bees swarmed around in our garden.
Later that week, I discovered the bees were living in our compost bin. I didn’t know they were there until I reached into the bottom with a trowel for a bit of compost (and one of them stung me on the neck because I had disturbed the nest). Bumblebees colonise in nests of between 5o and 400 bees. I didn’t count them, but they were definitely living in a nest inside my compost bin (they don’t do hives like honey bees). Exciting, apparently this is rare (according to what I read when I googled ‘bumblebees’).
Massive bee in our garden (I think this was June).
Finally, our cats’ grave in the front garden had an autumn flowering camelia. I thought it had died. When I buried TC’s ashes (poor TC left us in June), I pruned the camelia right down to the bottom… and it has started growing back!
Well, I think that is enough sit-com behaviour for one post, enjoy the rest of your October everyone, Samantha xx
Me again! Today I want to talk about my latest book, published today (30th of September)
The World Does Not Revolve Around Curmudgeon Avenue
What is it about?
THE ONE WHERE THE B*TCH RETURNS
Reformed rent burglar Georgina Foote moves back to Whitefield and into number 13 Curmudgeon Avenue. She is desperately seeking Kevin but all she finds is nonsense. Collecting enemies at work and at home, Georgina Foote does not belong here.
Meanwhile, a mass exodus occurs when Wantha Rose, Ricky Ricketts and newbie Krystina moved to Greenmount. They think that the world does not revolve around Curmudgeon Avenue, will they find out that it does?
A denouement of sorts resolves the ghost’s stories when Harold takes up residence in the House of Commons, and Edith reunites with her first husband.
Zandra Bennett’s career takes on a new direction when she unwittingly starts channelling the ghost of Edith in the under-the-stairs space.
We finally get to find out Mrs Ali’s first name, her story and her source of all knowledge.
Wantha and Ricky nearly get married, and we learn why the Rose sisters have such daft names. Their mother, Patchouli is still living the life of luxury, and occasional abseiling with Gil Von Black
Not intended as a cosy read, the characters in this social satire provide an utterly British escape.
Will the nincompoops of Curmudgeon Avenue survive without the street? The ending is a shocker!
What is the series about?
Curmudgeon Avenue is a social satire comedy drama about a house that doesn’t like its inhabitants.
From Edna, Edith and Harold to Zandra and Gordon Bennett there are plenty of dramas, romances and quarrels.
The characters often come over as preposterous and unlikeable. Yet, they are all entertaining, in their own ways. Plenty of Manchester humour and language in the dialogue.
Readers are saying that the series is like a British sit-com, and one even said it is like a soap opera on speed.
How did I write book five?
Georgina Foote is a supporting character from book one. She had recently split from her husband Kevin, and so had moved home with her mother. But Pauline Foote had grown tired of her daughter, Georgina living with her and arranged for Georgina to rent a room at No.1 Curmudgeon Avenue. One day, she stole the rent and moved out, and we haven’t heard from her since.
IN BOOK FIVE Georgina is back, desperately trying to rekindle her relationship with Kevin. She thinks she is irresistible to men and cannot understand why Kevin is hiding from her… Or who is sending her hate mail.
While Georgina is collecting enemies all across Whitefield, Wantha and Ricky are trying to get married. But in an almost Far From The Madding Crowd style, Wantha turns up at the wrong venue.
Curmudgeon Avenue is a fictional street in the actual town of Whitefield, North Manchester. I named the series Curmudgeon Avenue after an incident with a disabled parking space. And I chose Whitefield, because that is the place I always got stuck in traffic on my way home from my old job.
In book 5, Georgina is a psychiatric nurse who works in a community mental health team. Initially, I thought twice about this. But I decided to go with it. As writers, why shouldn’t our characters work in mental health care? It is the same as if Georgina had been a hairdresser. Because of the genre, we don’t get to meet any of the ‘service users’ just the staff, which leads me onto my next point.
I was a psychiatric nurse for twenty years. When I started my training, aged 18, I was told that I would be ‘eaten alive’. This was the early 90s and, even that recently (and unfortunately) attitudes towards mental health patients were terrible.
Obviously, I have created the character Georgina Foote using my own imagination.
You can buy The World Does Not Revolve Around Curmudgeon Avenue HERE
This morning, The World Does Not Revolve Around Curmudgeon Avenue got a 5* rating from Readers’ Favorite (Thank you)
Reviewed by Ankita Shukla for Readers’ Favorite
The World Does Not Revolve Around Curmudgeon Avenue replaces the stars of its previous novels with the Rose sisters (Toonan and Wantha), Georgina Foote, Zandra, and many other side characters (some fresh faces and some familiar ones). Wantha Rose stumbled upon Georgina Foote at Manchester Town Hall, where Wantha was scheduled to marry Ricky Ricketts. When Ricky Ricketts did not show up, the red-faced Wantha made Georgina swear that she would not talk about this day to another soul. However, Georgina Foote broke that promise over Facebook, thus insulting Wantha in her own territory, aka the internet. Georgina Foote, the rent-thief, continued her distasteful deeds, paving her way out of everybody’s hearts — not that she ever was in anybody’s heart — and onto their blacklists. On the paranormal side of the plot, with Edith’s ghostly help, Toonan created her tarot-card reading business. Since Edith was busy reconnecting with the ghost of her first husband behind Harold’s back, her inconsistent availability proved to be the biggest problem for Toonan’s business. The juicy gossips were just the right backdrop for the rib-tickling events.
Curmudgeon Avenue is a series that puts a never-fading smile on the lips of its readers as the nosey, loud, insensitive, and inappropriate nincompoops go about their ridiculous lives. The result is a hilarious novel that leaves its fans waiting for the next gossip of Curmudgeon Avenue. Although the star cast of the previous novels — Edna, Edith, and Harold — were mostly missing in this novel, “longer than reasonably necessary” and illogical conversations match the expectations of Curmudgeon Avenue series’ readers. Samantha Henthorn excels in introducing side characters in one novel and then putting these characters into the spotlight in the next book of the series. Her strategic act of passing the proverbial baton works flawlessly in just a matter of a couple of chapters. Wantha’s almost-wedding day, dishonorable actions by Georgina Foote, Zandra’s embarrassment about their unmentionable housewarming party were the building blocks of a novel that brimmed with excitement.
Samantha Henthorn has proved to be one of those authors who have a firm grasp of the expectations of their readers. Each novel of the Curmudgeon Avenue series is a testament to her awareness, and The World Does Not Revolve Around Curmudgeon Avenue is no exception to this fact. Humor fans will laugh at the illogical train of thoughts of the characters and gladly join in the gossip of Curmudgeon Avenue. I recommend not only this book but each novel of the Curmudgeon Avenue series to readers who enjoy light comedy.
IN OTHER NEWS!
Today is 30 days since book two of the Curmudgeon Avenue series ‘The Harold and Edith Adventures’ was submitted to ACX, so hopefully, it will be published soon for your listening pleasure.
Narrated by Lindsay McKinnon of Theatre of The Mind Productions
Lindsay has done a grand job again with awesome comic timing.
Lindsay is here on the left pictured at our book launch of book one’s audio at Radcliffe Library (pre-covid).
Samantha Henthorn talks about whether to write ‘Prosecco’ or ‘prosecco’ in her novels.
I want to talk about something that has been on my mind for a while.
If anyone follows me on Twitter or Facebook, you may have noticed that I have… noticed that fizzy wine has started giving me heartburn! Talk about #45yearoldproblems I am gutted! Literally.
That is not what this post is about – I just don’t know whether to capitalise or not when I am writing fiction (it crops up often in Curmudgeon Avenue) and I have been doing some serious research about Prosecco during the past few years.
Ha! I have even drank it by the sea according to the above photograph (although on closer inspection that is another brand of fizzy wine).
What I have done, when I say research is every time I am reading a book, and the word Prosecco or prosecco pops up, I make a note of it. by pressing some buttons on my Kindle.
Well, the results have come in (from traditionally published books) I have read on my Kindle, and four are spelt prosecco with a lower case p and eleven are spelt Prosecco.
Interestingly, comedy drama/light humour (the genre I write in) capitalised the P for Prosecco. And literary fiction/crime novels do not. (In the non scientific research I carried out).
Let’s do a google search (google is another one! Google/google)
Lots of things came up
People also ask
Do you capitalize wines?
Rule 3: When a wine is named after a grape, do not capitalize – unless the grape is named after a place and the wine comes from that place. … Cabernet Sauvignon originated in Bordeaux, and if the wine comes from there, capitalize; cabernet is the name of the grape, not a city, and deserves no capital.
There is a village called Prosecco in Italy, but the fizzy wine is produced (inside and) outside the village. In the past, the grape used to make Prosecco was called both prosecco and Glera. (I got this information by doing an internet search, an article came up by Wine Enthusiast which you can read here)
Did you see that above? ALSO WITHOUT CAPITAL – so both are right! Phew!
And let’s look at the Chambers Dictionary that I was advised to buy for my Creative writing degree, hold on, it’s upstairs.
Phew! Massive dictionary – I am shattered now!
Tiny writing! It just says ‘prosecco n an Italian sparkling white wine.’
I asked my friends. Most of them didn’t care, one said that he had been to Italy and they don’t capitalise the word prosecco. Then he said he was just joking and had made this little anecdote up. I could text my friend who is a school teacher but it’s a Tuesday afternoon and who has the time to answer my nonsense?
So, there you have it. Some say Prosecco, some say prosecco. And that’s OK! Apologies if I have made you thirsty on a school night.