Favourite 12

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I’m doing an art challenge for January and today it asked for 12 books or films that you would say were your favourites.

I decided to draw a quick sketch rather than going through my bookcases to find things. Because I read such a lot it was hard to be specific so I have generalised some of my choices.

My list starts with the Sky at Night TV programme which was on the BBC tonight. I’ve been watching it on and off since the 1960’s which is a long time, but it’s been great finding out more about the universe as human knowledge has increased. No one knew about black holes when it first started, and it was before we  went to the moon.

The second book could be anything about painting and drawing, either full of brilliant art or about exciting new techniques. I once bought a book from the National Gallery full of all sorts of art. I was enthralled.

Third is Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, I’ve seen the play of it but to my shame I’ve never read the book. There are a lot of classic books I would like to try and read.

Four. I was introduced to The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien, by my hubby. He had a copy for his eighteenth birthday. We then heard the story on the radio. It was abridged but still ran for thirteen hours. A lot of the book was cut from the radio show and a it more from the films. I must read it again.

Fifth, any book on Art and Design. It could be about theatre design or clothes or architecture. As long as its interesting.

Six is any book about Evolution. I don’t think I could manage Darwins Origin of species. I have got the Blind watchmaker by Richard Dawkins, but I haven’t remembered to read it.

Seven (halfway-are you bored yet?). Any book by Terry Pratchett. From the Colour of Magic to Making Money, and all his other titles, this is fantasy fiction with a grin on its face.

Eighth, is a film, Spiderman, with Toby McGuire. I liked it because it was one of the first Marvel films. It isn’t a fight fest like some if the later ones, and again it’s fantasy, lights, special effects. My favourite things tend to be visual.

Nine is an old film, the Sound of Music. I saw it again on the TV recently. There is a lot more to it than I remember. And the songs are lovely.

Ten, almost there, Cats, not the musical, but Old Possums book of practical cats, by TS Elliot. It’s great to read McCavity the mystery cat, or about the Jellicles cats. I would recommend it.

Eleven is any book about Frida Kahlo. I didn’t really know much about her until I got a present about Women Surrealist Artists. When you find out about her incredibly difficult life, but see her art I just have such a strong admiration for her.

Finally, twelfth, any book on Anthony Gormley, artist and sculptor. He created the Angel of the North, a winged human up in the Newcastle-on-Tyne area. Its a huge sculpture next to the motorway up there. He has done other sculptures of figures emerging from the sea near Liverpool. His work is always interesting and thought provoking.

Looking at this list makes me feel like I am only dipping my toe into the things that interest me. Maybe some if the things will interest you too….

Dragon watch part one

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Dark was falling, the clouds lowering, fearful people cowered in their homes. The Dragon Lord was coming, he would take slaves this month and they knew it. Only in the morning would they go out into the world again.

Aging grandfather Drulk hesitated as he closed the shutters to the cottage. He had been lucky and his son and grandson had stayed safe. He was a blacksmith and so was his son. He kwew how to keep them hidden, using strong iron to stop the Dragon Lord sensing their presence. But his son had been on a hunting trip and this was the first time his grandson has gone along. They were overdue. No sound entered the cottage, but if Hirst, the Dragon, came to it they would hear its beating wings many seconds before it arrived.

A knock at the door, Drulk opened it carefully. His grandson stood there, shaking, his clothes torn. They have father, was all he could say.

Drulk held his grandsons shoulders, what happened, he pleaded. We were at the edge of the forest, I tripped over a root and my head hit the ground. Father was trying to help when the Dragon grabbed him in his claws. He is gone….

In Flar Castle, their son and father stood before the Dragon Lord. You are now my slave, you will serve me. Never, said Drulk’s son. I will not serve or help you…..

I’m not sure where to go with this story I don’t write fiction very often… Maybe I should say ‘to be continued?’ I’m not sure about naming characters, it’s hard to decide what to call them…

Out of the rain.

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The storm blew in from the North like a runaway train. The wind threw water against the houses. Cars were lifted up by the flood and were caught on the top of the neat hedges that lined the sides of the street. Out of the maelstrom came a figure of a small man dressed in a black raincoat. Water streamed from him, it flowed out of his sleeves and trouser legs. Tears streamed in rivers from his eyes, nose, mouth and even from his ears.

He was called Beck and he was from the North. He was a water god and he had decided to show mankind his might because of the way the World was being treated. He was angry and the storm was growing into a tornado. He had seen the way forests were being cut back, cars clogging roads, ships travelling half way across the world to deliver the cheapest sweatshop goods.

Beck lifted his arms, words bubbled up from his mouth.

Learn or die! He screamed in a high voice. Learn, or, die !

Not as we know it.

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I was standing under the warm rain when I heard a thud on the upper surface. I quickly got out of the rainier and looked outside at the up and downs, above them stood the geographical anomaly.

The anomaly was booming and throwing out hot black clouds. The flat world shook and buckled as the molten rocks ran down the steep sides of the anomaly.

Quickly putting on my leg jumper and foot coverings I ran to the four wheel cycle and drove it over to the science walls.

What’s happening? I asked the second leader. It’s exploding. Giving black clouds to the upper air. We think the hot rocks might get here.

Now I am a lost person, looking for an upper surface to cover my top body. No living heart to see after me.

I am uncoupled, I am not joined. Water rains from my seeing tubes.

Tired

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Your looking tired? she said. Busy day? Yes it was, but I didn’t want to admit it. A long drive across the moors, then a quick rest at the hotel. Now I was sitting in a quiet pub waiting for the meal I’d ordered.

The waitress spoke again. You look a bit peaky, you must look after yourself. She looked closely at me, her face expressing surprise, fear and astonishment…

You’ve gone a funny colour!

Two faces

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They had known each other since childhood, but when they left school, they went there separate ways.

Sophie knew her friend had got married and had two children. But not much more than that.

She herself had gone to college and then university, now she was back in the old town looking for Jean, but she was having trouble tracking her down.

In the end it was a chance meeting with another old friend that lead her to find Jean again.

She was sitting at a table just inside the door of the cafe when a man walked by. He must have been looking for someone but he saw her. He stopped and stared then came towards her… Sophie? It can’t be? A smile on his face. It is! Hello, how are you? He was asking those little questions you ask someone when you haven’t seen them for years.

The man told her that Jean had moved to the south of the town with her partner. It was a couple of bus rides away, but not too far.

Sophie set out, she hoped that Jean would be in when she got to the house. As she travelled she thought of all the things she wanted and needed to say. There was a long history between them, and she had found out something they had never known as children.

How would Jean react? The bus pulled up and she got off. She checked her mobile. The address was two streets away, near the river.

She walked quickly, trying to stay calm. She could have tried to phone Jean but she didn’t know her new surname. How would she take the news? Life was strange…

She found the modest terraced house halfway down the street. She stood looking. A tiny front garden with a brick wall around it. A modern front door. Could she, should she knock? Yes.

Jean answered the door and took a few moments to recognise Sophie. Oh my God! How are you? What are you doing here??

Sophie took a deep breath. I’ve something to tell you. Can I come in?

Jean smiled, yes, of course, would you like a cup of tea, or coffee? Have a seat. The living room was small and chintzy.

No its OK. Maybe later. Do you remember how close we were when we were children?

Yes. Two peas in a pod people used to say.

There’s a reason for that. I found it out. I was looking on line at my family tree… Sophies voice trailed off..

And? Jean wanted to know…

I won’t beat about the bush… We are sisters, twins!

What?

Yes, twins. Your mum adopted you because my mother could not manage to bring up both of us. Dad was out of work if you remember. ..

But we don’t look alike?

Non identical twins. Sophie replied.

So you want to know more? Jean nodded. Yes please…