Real Neat Blog Award

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I’m delighted to have been nominated for this award by the lovely Izzy on her blog Izzy-grabs-life. Izzy writes beautifully, contributing to several flash fiction challenges, and does photography challenges, too. She’s a great blogger whose exuberance seems to burst from the page, and I recommend everyone to take a look at her blog. Thank you so much, Izzy, for nominating me.

So, here are the rules:

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  • Put the award logo on your blog.
  • Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs.
  • Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
  • Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.
  • Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog, etc.)

 Here are my answers  to Izzy’s seven questions:

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Q.1 Can you describe the four seasons in sounds? Good! Now, please, show us what you came up with. ^_^

For this interesting question the only thing I could come up with was this short story. (It isn’t really that long, but if you’re pushed for time, you could just skip this answer! lol)

Song of the Seasons

Monsieur DuPont, conductor and maestro of his art, stood poised before the orchestra, arms before him, the baton in his right hand unmoving. Silence descended over the packed theatre and the baton gestured to the percussion group to the rear of the violins.

Tambourines softly rustle, rousing the sleeping land from its winter sleep…

Mallets strike the xylophone, brisk, tinkling notes reverberate round the hall: winter’s snow and ice beginning to drip: drip, drip, drippety-drip; drippety-drippety-drip … Mallets sweep the keyboard to and fro, the trickle becoming a steady flow. The flute’s melodic notes gush forth: hillside streams hastening their descent to the valley below. Timpani boom, loud and determined; streams uniting with rising rivers; cymbals clash as waters burst their banks; farmland, village and town consumed. The repeated springtime curse…

Gentler now, the piccolo mirrors the dance of butterfly, blackbird and bee; warm sunshine on blossoming land. Violins soar, heralding summer’s intensifying heat, darkening greens, and roses, marigolds and hollyhocks bright. The strings are in full burst as midsummer blooms… slowing and softening as the ripening wheat sways in the breeze and fruit swells on orchard trees…

Mellowing all too soon, violas deeper tones mirror autumn’s golden hues, broken at times by bursts from piccolo and flute: laughter from children at conker fights; adults celebrating harvest home. Sweeps of the xylophone signify the whirr of combines in the fields.

The horn’s soft, slow tones herald the advent of winter and darkening nights; the cello in sombre mood reflects life’s sedate pace. Jack Frost shows his face, the sharply plucked violin depicting his efforts to penetrate home and hearth.

January’s soft snowfall is the gentle harp’s delight. Snow blankets the earth, muffling and protecting all beneath.  The tambourine rustles a little, glimmers of February’s wan sunlight holding promise of spring.  But loud bursts from the trumpets tell us that March winds demand to be heard … quieting as gentle April draws nigh. Spring once again.

Note: If anyone out there is screaming at my inappropriate choice of instruments for these sounds, I confess, I’m no musician.

Q.2  Who is your favorite fictional protagonist? Antagonist? Why?

My favourite protagonist just has to be Francis Crawford of Lymond. He features in the series of six books known as ‘The Lymond Chronicles’, by the brilliant Scottish author, Dorothy Dunnett, who sadly died in 2001.

Lymond, as he’s generally called, has to be the most complex character I’ve ever come across. He has so many admirable qualities, most of which lie concealed beneath the veneer he chooses to show to the world. He’s a nobleman, who lives by his wits and swordsmanship; a scholar, a poet and a musician. For much of Book One, he comes across as someone with a careless attitude to life, and his motives for doing things are often misunderstood by others, who see him devious and scheming. But as the book progresses his true character emerges – a sad, sensitive and troubled person, fiercely loyal to his family and country. He is also desperate to prove himself innocent of the crime for which he was framed: treason towards the Scottish crown.  Overall, it’s the complexity and depth of his character that works for me.

As an antagonist, Graham Reid Malett, also from the Lymond Chronicles, really appealed to me. He appears in Books 3 and 4, as a member of the Order of St. John on the island of Malta. He is initially portrayed is as a Godly character, generous, beautiful and fair-headed. In other words, he is truly angelic – the reason why he is referred to as Gabriel. But in reality, he’s the most evil person anyone is ever likely to meet. I won’t describe some of the things Gabriel does, but he is Lymond’s arch enemy in Books 3 and 4 – though his effect is felt for far longer and sends Lymond to the depths of despair.

Q. 3 What do you feel most proud of this week (so far)?

I’m not feeling particularly proud of doing anything right now, I’m afraid, other than getting on with my writing. I’ll  have to try to do something to be proud of next week.

Q. 4 What did you want to be when you were little?

The first thing I ever wanted to be was a nurse, after I’d got a nurse’s outfit from Father Christmas when I was four. I used to subject my little sister, then two, to being bandaged up and lying on the settee covered in blankets while I pretended to dose her with medicine. Poor child! Fortunately, that phase didn’t last too long and, like most kids, I wanted to be various things, including a train driver, a librarian and eventually, a teacher.  At first I wanted to be a P.E. teacher, because I was always the sporty type and adored gymnastics. I didn’t settle on geography until I was doing my ‘A’ levels (age 16-18).

Q.5 How do you spend your free time (even if it’s a few minutes)?

If ever I have any free time, I read. If I really do have a lot of time, I might go for extra walks. or go swimming. But the odd half-hour, or even waiting in the doctor’s or dentist’s surgeries, is spent reading. I always take a book, or my Kindle, with me.

Q. 6 What skill would you like to learn and why?

I would love to play the violin, and regret never having learned as a child. Unfortunately, my parents didn’t have spare cash to pay for such things. Life was hard for working-class families in post-war Britain. I suppose it’s never too late to learn. If only I had the time.

Q. 7  What does being strong mean to you?    

Not an easy question to answer, because strength can be interpreted in so many ways. It can be seen in people who are willing to stand up for what they believe in. It can be seen in families, or friends, who support each other through difficult times. It can be seen in people suffering great hardships who persevere and refuse to give in. I could give several more examples but that would result in a very long answer.

7 questions for my nominees:

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  1. Which is your preferred way of expressing yourself creatively, either on your blog or elsewhere (e.g. art, poetry, photography etc.)
  2. What do you like best about blogging?
  3. What is your favourite genre in books and films/movies, and why?
  4. Which three qualities do you value the most in a good friend?
  5. Are you a city-loving person, or do you prefer the quietness of country life? Give your reasons?
  6. Is there any particular time of year where you live that you like the best, and why?
  7. Do you have a favourite flower? If so, what is it you particularly like about it?

Now here are my nominees:

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Apologies in advance to anyone whose blog is an Award Free one. I have looked on everyone’s, but I could well have missed something.