Shirley Mitchell

Shirley Mitchell

Location St Ives, Cambridgeshire



  • When the Kissing Cannot Stop

    It was hard coming to terms with some of the conventions on my first stay in France. But I was there for eleven years so hopefully I got it right eventually.

    … there's the business of kissing for instance. Kissing as a daily greeting I found a charming innovation. I loved watching my daughter leave the house for school and...


    One of the most charming traditions in France is the offering of a sprig of muguet to family and friends on the first of May. This is to bring good luck and in my case I found lilies-of-the-valley in a variety of pretty containers on my doorstep – from tradesmen who had done work for me, from little lads who had walked home...

  • I've had both positive and negative experiences with some of my (oh dear, yes, I have quite a few) blogs on FB but have learned by trial and error (and in one case distress) which platforms to avoid (= to steer clear of) and have also picked up the tricks of the trade eg blocking individual bullies ...

    The delightful feedback I receive from my modest number...

  • Been there, done that ... so had a somewhat biased attitude even before plunging into someone else's "take" on one of my favourite haunts.

    George often invited my daughter and I to his Sunday carrot cake picnic parties. Our sadness at his death is still too raw for any sensible appreciation of articles about him.

    See what you mean about the...

  • Neither drew me in. Not surprising in the Music one but as a long-term fanI would have hoped for something more annoying or pleasing - not so bland.

  • Thank you, Barbara C, for a thought-provoking hour on this soul-less Saturday. All interesting. Favourite = Gifted Girls

  • @BarbaraLister I'm a sucker for anything to do with the East End. And as for Chaucer - love him - dare I say "in spite of" enforced study for A level English - well, to counteract that - "because of" his appearence in Anya Seton's KATHERINE ...

    My convoluted way of saying THANK YOU, Barbara L for the link

  • Kate Adie - I SO admire and trust this woman PLUS appreciating her literary style

  • I am passionate about many topics. A vegetarian for 60+ years, a Socialist for most of my life ... these commitments frame my Outlook.

    What makes me leap out of my fragile, aged ... and, yes, essentially shy shell ... is hearing folk pontificate about DYSLEXIA. A terribly abused term. I was there at its conception and watched so many self-appointed experts...

  • Commiserations, Trina. Oh, oh, oh - that accursed BLOCK.

  • Week 3 = curate's egg

    Have great hopes for Week 4 ...

  • See above

  • That's more like it ... very good mini-lecture!

  • Moi aussi. Well, French by marriage and something my French family, friends, colleagues et al could never explain to me - why so many Lords and Ladies remain in their chateaux to this day ...

    May try doing a feature on this - but I will WRITE it in how ever many drafts it takes - then send out or destroy - but NOT PITCH IT.

  • 'Tis very exciting when you are called in to have your photograph taken to be used at the head of your column



    Someone "official" will probably post an actual link. I enjoyed both courses but am not reaping much from this one

  • Habit of lifetime - notepaper and pencil on bedside table. Used scribbled reminder this very morning. Electronic post-its lined up on right of screen. Very informal and would mean nothing to outsiders

  • ... or just write the wretched piece, durnit ...

  • With you there, Catherine. A pity there was not an ALL to vote for.

    Also, I can plonk myself down at my computer, on an aeroplane seat (with an old envelope and a pencil), on my sofa (with a notebook and biro) and "open my mind" till an idea comes.

  • Ditch the pitch ... is my advice. Just send in the completed text plus any drawings/photographs you have carefully produced.

    You have done your research re which publications will be interested in your work, you have toiled and slaved and perfected every word. Trying to artificially present it is a bad idea.

  • Yes, they often have their own agenda ...

  • @MarkJackson How does one do that? Seems an extremely useful ploy

  • Yes, RIP Hilary - though I did not "enjoy" her books I nevertheless "admired" them ...

  • A Ruth Rendell I am just getting into. One of those where the murderer is revealed immediately and then his character analysed chapter by chapter.

    The room he lives in says so much about him - spotless, respectable outwardly but despite all his faddy housekeeping it is underneath a mouldy-cornered, unattractive space ...

  • @MarkJackson Love this little chapel cum barn Took classes there on field trips and after the usual giggling and shuffling those who chose to stand on the preacher's stone really seemed to soak up the sense of "what happened here all those years ago."

  • My most recent "features" have appeared in a local news sheet and they defy much of what is being expounded here. For a start they are SHORT - sometimes less than 500 words. I often provide a drawing which hopefully accounts for further information on the subject.

    I suppose there is a hook - sometimes the time of year, sometimes a memory sparked off by an...

  • Beware. Interviewers often have their own agendas and some go as far as to "trick" you into ging the answers they want ...

  • "By golly, she reminds me of me"

    JOHN WAYNE IN True grit

  • Sure does, Linda. Some fun thankfully but a change of country and a loss of precious daughter ate t' other side of the coin.
    Hope to meet up on another course - am delving into screenwriting next ...

  • You have to pay for that kind of access, Vivienne - but you probably know that.
    It is a big disappointment to me, one of the founder members ...

  • At last an accessible author. No me, me, me in his answers. A real, honest WRITER, believably involved in his craft. Thank you, Mr R. Off to immerse myself in your book.

  • "... clearing a space for individuals to articulate themselves in their own linguistic register, without a narrator who might attempt to either interpret or neutralise their words, can carry tremendous political force."

    Do SO agree with this ... am off to my sofa to think about it even more ...

  • "Effie's in de coal hole" - so long since I read SILAS MARNER so this might not be strictly accurate but, boy, did this snippet communicate so much ...

  • Oh dear, how annoying when there are no "he said/she shouted/ they groaned"s and I have to count back up the page to discover just who said what and to whom ... Hilary Mantel was struck off my reading list for this habit in particular

  • Oh dear, how annoying when there are no "he said/she shouted/ they groaned"s and I have to count back up the page to discover just who said what and to whom ... Hilary Mantel was struck off my reading list for this habit in particular

  • Sarah Harrison, Ruth Rendell, Iris Murdoch and Joanna Trollope do this butting -in business very well. Dickens, though the master of the monologue sometimes gets this group conversation going.

  • You have re-inforced my resolve NOT to read this book, Steve.

  • I'm going to read a (free) sample on my Kindle - out of duty to FL - certainly not out of admiration having read the LOOK INSIDE extract.

    Probably will not purchase the book as am not interested in reading about explicit sex seasoned with swearing ...

  • That's it exactly, Pamela. Dickens loved his characters, good or bad. Joyce seems at best disinterested, at worst contemptuous

  • @JanHill What a crafty way of conveying your feelings about soc,Jan. :-)