Category Archives: Fife

“Where there’s life there’s hope, and need of vittles.” ~ JR Tolkein

Download from quotefancy.com for wallpaper

I love this quote. It is almost a Pooh~ism!

As a writer I am always stirred by the generosity of spirit of people I meet in terms of giving time, effort and finances to support those in need. I also find stories of resilience and fortitude of folks heartwarming ~ how people are brought to rock bottom by their circumstances, often through no fault or action of their own, find the courage to rise up once more.

I particularly love the work of Emmaus, with so many wonderful stories of how the organisation has changed people’s lives by providing a purpose, work and community life and the chance to give something back.

This is what Micheal wrote:

“”Without Emmaus, I don’t think I would be around right now and it has given me a lifeline to a better future. I was first homeless at the age of seven with my mother and continued to be homeless on-and-off for nearly 20 years before finding Emmaus.”

To read Micheal’s full story please click on this link. Micheal’s Story

Unfortunately the virus has stalled a great deal of the usual work of Emmaus ~ their workshops, shops and delivery to name three areas, but the organisation has continued to support those in great need throughout. Emmaus is a UK wide organisation. There is almost certainly one near where you live. https://emmaus.org.uk/

It is people like Michael’s who inspired me to write Dot’s story in MISSING Past and Present. 

~ not only to write about the tragedy of circumstances that led to Dot’s homelessness, but also the network of support for her, once she was mentally at a point when she could accept help, because to do this and to ask takes a great deal of courage.

That is so apparent in the current crisis. People like to be independent and do not wish to be reliant on others, but once the step is taken it is such a relief to know that support is close by; overwhelming even.

Even closer to home I am sure you have noticed that there’s so much community spirit. It is certainly the case around here but I’m sure there are similar stories in the rest of the UK and even around the world, inspired by the needs provoked by Covid 19.

Locally there’s KSS, Kinghorn Support Squad, which if you read quickly looks like KISS ~ a lovely name. This support group was set up by our Provost about three years ago for those casual volunteers who did not want to join a group on a regular basis, but were happy to help out whenever they could. Examples of this was setting up and dismantling the furniture for the village show and also as Marshalls for the Black Rock Race.

Through this crisis this group have been stalwarts, available for food and medication drops and delivering letters and postcards explaining where folks can ask for help or arrange deliveries if they need it. In fact many, many more have volunteered to be part of KSS to become paet of the steering group, street coordinators and on hand to sort out local Foodbank drops if necessary. It is often the street coordinators who keep in touch with people locally and sort out any needs as they arise; a network ensuring that no person is missed or forgotten.

The church and the Lunch Club for the elderly have also been involved, as they always have, in ensuring everyone is safe and has someone to talk to and to help them.

In our neighbouring town of Burntisland BEAT has been established and their remit is quite wide, including  dog walking, providing toys for children in need and also food drops, organised through a central hub rather than the satellite approach of Kinghorn.

Each  way has been developed with the needs of the local communities in mind and show a resilience and caring attitude which prevails, whatever the circumstances.

The Kirkcaldy Foodbank continues with its support and although in the first few weeks the need grew exponentially and the provisions sourced from local supermarkets on a regular basis was scarce, they have continued to be the back bone in ensuring that no person locally goes hungry or lacks essential toiletries. In fact there has been a huge drive to give the Foodbank extra support through this time, both in terms of food and donations of money.

It is easy to become overwhelmed by the need, like a vast almost impenetrable chasm, but Michael and Dot’s stories are uplifting and ensure that we are left with an overriding sense of HOPE.

 

 

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Filed under Events, Fife, MISSING Past and Present, Planning a novel, Research, Writing a novel

Two extremely positive ways to launch a novel

Hi folks

Since launching my new mystery novel ‘MISSING Past and Present’ on line on 28th February I have enjoyed two events:

  1. Celebration of the Book Launch in Kinghorn Station Gallery on Sunday 15th March and
  2. A Coffee Pot Book Shop Blog Tour organised by the capable Mary Ann Yarde.

DSCN6388[1]Little did I know that, as my friend and distinguished author Hamish Brown said on the phone after the event,

“We will fondly remember your book launch, Diana, as the last social gathering in Kinghorn and Burntisland before the lock down.”

Once my novel had been released on line I worked towards the book launch, ever watchful of events on the other side of the world in China; creeping relentlessly across Europe towards the UK. Should I shouldn’t I go ahead as planned? I asked for advice and most folks said, ‘yes, go for it,’ only a couple rang and explained why they sadly decided they should not attend.

All who attended were greeted with a glass of Prosecco and nibbles, in separate little glass dishes if they wished, but I also made everyone,  about thirty in all sign in with contact details, telephone or email.

Invitation to launchcopy-page-001It was a wonderful social gathering. A blether was enjoyed and time sped by. I said a few words half way through and sold a good few books, but that wasn’t the main aim of the event. I spoke of the collective creativity of the folks in the area from writers, to Douglas and Lynette Gray who had kindly loaned my their lovely art gallery for the afternoon, to a friend Ulrika who had knitted the beautiful Shetland cardigan I was wearing to mark the occasion. We also had musician’s among us and gardeners too, with many from Kinghorn in Bloom represented, but also my friend Ann who works so hard organising areas of the Foodbank where I volunteer.

It was certainly a celebration of my achievement too, with friends and neighbours. There was a fantastic buzz and it was difficult to send the last few home at 5 pm!

It was the next day, in fact, that we knew a shut down was imminent. I have kept in touch with everyone to check all are OK, and thankfully they are. I have no regrets. Happy memories!

Three weeks followed to acclimatize to the new norm in our everyday lives and then was time for the blog tour. At first I found it hard to build enthusiasm, with so much gloom and doom in the world, but the event had been carefully planned and organised by since the end of 2019 and as Mary Ann pointed out,’

‘Diana, we have a livelihood to think about too!’

I’m so glad it went ahead. It was such a positive event, or series of events over the course of five days, which was a distracting time from our everyday lives but above all it was fun. I met several bloggers, hundreds of authors and readers who were prepared to reblog or retweet and the five days built another, very different, feel good factor around my launch. An on line way of achieving what my celebration at Kinghorn Gallery had done a few weeks before.

coffee pot book blog

The tour was varied, so much that only later, on reflection, I realised the full scope of the posts:

The whole week certainly caused a buzz on Twitter and Facebook. Great fun and I can’t thank Mary Ann Yarde enough!

Thinking back over these two events fills me with Joy and I would like to thank everyone involved, took part or attended in person.

Keep safe and well everyone!

 

 

 

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Filed under Author Diana Jackson, Blogs, Book reading, Book reviews, Events, Fife, MISSING Past and Present, Mystery inspired by history series, Research

Review of ‘The Healing Paths of Fife’

A fantasy memoir ~
Diana walked along the Fife Coastal Path

REVIEW OF ‘THE HEALING PATHS OF FIFE’

on Amazon on 9th December 2019

Here is the latest review. It is 4 stars but I’m really chuffed that Ragner took the trouble to write it:

“The first thing to note about this book is its subtitle, where Diana Jackson correctly classifies it both as a fantasy and a memoir. To start with the memoir, she describes in considerable detail the several walks in which, sometimes accompanied by her husband, she explores the Fife Coastal Path. These walks are always well observed and occasionally a little scary, for example, when she cuts it fine with the incoming tide and, more so, when she undertakes the Elie Chain Walk. To quote from Fife Council website:

‘This unique scramble will take you across hazardous coastal terrain for 0.5 km.
There are 8 chains, some vertical, with up to 10 metres height gain/loss.’

There is the occasional digression from this walk, for example to Roslyn Chapel and to her previous home in Bedfordshire. But this is to be expected. No one leads life in a totally straight line.

Moving to the fantasy element, the author meets several characters from the past, the most distant being Queen Margaret, the second wife of Malcolm Canmore, who was King of Scots in the early 11th century.

These historical characters fulfill two functions. The first is straightforward, to shed light on the times in which they lived. The second is to offer advice and encouragement to the author, who is has recently been made redundant, is in the process of moving from Bedfordshire to Fife, and who is considering turning to writing full time.

When she is walking alone, it is easy to accomplish this. But when she is travelling with her husband a degree of separation is required or the he might well begin to wonder who she is talking to. The usual solution is that they become separated for a while, one being ahead of the other on their route. The most imaginative solution, is the single occasion when the author is in two places at once.

‘When I straightened I could see my other self laughing too. I walked towards the bench where she and my husband were sitting and we gazed out to sea together, across towards Pettycur Bay on the distant horizon. As we sat, we smiled, and as we smiled we merged back into one.’

This may seem unlikely, but as the author correctly points out, ‘The wonderful thing about fiction is that anything is possible.’

Of the several such meetings in the book, two are unusual for different reasons. When she encounters Robert Louis Stevenson, she gives him more advice than he gives her. At first sight this may seem odd, till we remember that she is meeting him before his writing career gets under way.

She also meets a selkie, an altogether trickier customer than Robert Louis Stevenson.

‘I strolled towards the tower and sat on a large boulder, as close to the seals as I dare, mesmerised by their antics, until suddenly I felt a damp fishy breath, as if someone had dared to creep up on me in my reverie and brush past, his face barely inches from my own. I glanced around to find a ‘man’ settling on a rock nearby, his alluring face and deep brown eyes gazing into my own. I might have been smitten by his sensuous touch or unnerved by his audacity to invade my space, if it hadn’t been for an over-riding fishy scent which made me smile.’

The selkie is a mythical creature, best known to many through that fine song, The Great Selkie o’ Suleskerry. Like any selkie worth his salt he is trying to chat her up. Where does this get him? You’ll have to read the book to find out.”

I laughed when I read about my advice to Robert Louis Stevenson. I had no idea I’d done that!

Well over £500 has been raised for local charities. It is at present for sale in aid of Kirkcaldy Foodbank on

Amazon.co.uk 

It can be ordered at Waterstones,

but the book is also available at Baker’s Field cafe and The Olympia Arcade in Kirkcaldy.

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Filed under Book reading, Book reviews, Book Shops, Fife, Fife Fantasy, The Healing Paths of Fife