Real Neat Blog Award


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:


  • 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:


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:


  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:


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.

39 thoughts on “Real Neat Blog Award

    1. It’s really nice of you to say that, Francesca. I almost deleted it a few times because it made the post so long. It really was a question of that story or nothing, though. It was simply the only thing that my head chose to accomodate! Thank you!

  1. Congratulations! You seem to be knee deep in awards lately! And deservedly so. Always love reading your writing and all your wonderful research. And, as you know, I’m addicted to your word of the week. Keep up the good work! 🙂

    1. Thank you for such kind words, Bekki. I’ll try to keep things going on WP as long as i can, but I think I’m heading for a shut down for a while. I really want to devote my time to my book. I feel quite torn at the moment. Sob, sob. Thank you so much for the coongrats! 😀

      1. Totally understand, books and blogs are both very time consuming. Will miss you while you’re away, so do pop in and visit when you need a break.

      2. I’ll be trying to do my usual posts for the next week. Then we go to Wales for a week to visit relatives. Of course, it’s always a case of ‘have laptop will travel’ but it will only be my book I attend to, if evenings allow. After that, I intend to keep up my WOW posts – I can’t stop those in the middle of the alphabet! I’ll also do the odd historical or travel post. It’s flash fiction that will have to go for a while. I love doing those stories, but I can’t keep writing them when my book is sitting there unfinished. Thanks for understanding, Bekki.

      3. Glad you’re not disappearing altogether :-)Agree flash fiction is fun but time consuming 😦

      1. All is well Millie, thanks… just a lot of work projects getting in the way at the moment but I’m not complaining… that’s what I live for 🙂

      2. I wanted to nominate you for this award but I know you don’t accept them. Those work projects just keep on getting in the way of things, don’t they? Still, you seem to enjoy being so busy. I imagine one of the projects is your play script, so I hope that is going really well. 🙂

  2. Thanks for the nomination!
    Funnily enough I’ve always fancied learning the violin too (I say “funnily enough” since I’m more into pop and rock).

    1. Thanks, Ali. I love the sound of a violin and absolutely adore an Irish fiddle. 🙂 I did check you hadn’t got this award – you have so many others. Hope you will accept, but I know that you do a lot of posts and may not be able to fit it in. No worries if you can’t.

  3. That short story was stunning! As someone who loves, appreciates and has a background in music it was so lovely to read a musical story. I could practically hear the music and see the images the sound created. A truly wonderful piece of writing, Millie. & Thank you for the nomination! I plan to accept and forward on the nominations later in the month. 🙂

    1. Wow, thank you for that wonderful comment! ❤ I realise it was a rather long answer, but it really was the only thing that came into my head when I read the question. 😀

  4. Congratulations you deserve the award. Your music answer comes from the heart. Thank you also for nominating me. I’ll work on it during the weekend

    1. Thank you, Scrapydo! I love the seasons and just picked instruments I liked to describe the different sunds. I’m glad it sounded OK to you. 🙂
      I’m so pleased you’ve accepted the award and will look forward to reading your post when it’s done. ❤

  5. Your short story really does describe the music so well! An Millie, it’s never too late to learn to play the violin! 🙂

    And thanks for nominating me! You know what I’ve realised about myself during my brief blogging period? That I’m apparently the type of person who easily gets excited about a theme for a post, then skips around to do a dozen other posts, unable to focus! I have SO many ideas for posts, I’m probably posting way too often. Anyway, I’d be thrilled to participate in this award. As for when exactly, I’m not sure but… my response will come eventually! 🙂

    Have a great day!

    1. I have to agree that I’m the same! I have
      dozens of ideas for posts in my head, and would love to do them all. But I also have my book to write, so I’m feeling quite stressed about everything at the moment. 😦 Why don’t days have more than 24 hours…?
      I’m thrilled you’ve accepted this award, and don’t worry about doing it right away. As far as I know there’s no time limit. (I wouldn’t leave it until next year, mind you! lol)
      Thank you so much for liking my little story. I can never manage to answer questions simply.
      I really love your travel posts. I’d be off gallivanting round the world right now, given half the chance. 🙂

      1. I’d be traveling right now too, if I could. And yes, blogging really is quite distracting! Good luck, hope you get some writing done for your book! 🙂

  6. Congrats Millie. 🙂 Reading is such a great hobby. I love your blog and whatever you write. It is always interesting and new. How is your book going, Millie? 🙂

    1. Oh, thank you for that nice comment, Norma. ❤ I almost nominated you for this award, but thought I'd better not, as I wasn't sure whether you were in the middle of doing the Liebster one or not. As for my book… right now, progress is too slow for my liking. I know I should just stop blogging, as it's taking so much of my time. But I want to keep putting up a few posts now and then. I think the flash fiction might have to go, though.
      I hope you are managing to keep on top of things, too. I know you've had a few changes recently. Keep well! 😀

      1. Oh, Millie I’m so embarrassed now that you’ve pointed at the words…nominated,award, liebster. I know everyday someone keeps whispering “the post is still due” (I hope it’s not you;)). I shush the voice. I will be doing the post this week as I’m finally free from a recent project. It’s good that you didn’t add me to the next one but the thought sure counts a ton. 🙂
        It’s sad that you’ll not be doing FF. I hope it’s just temporary. I can understand writing sometimes can be tiresome (for the mind) so do take a break and don’t forget to enjoy and relax during those breaks. 🙂 Take care.

      2. Hi Norma. No, it isn’t me doing the whispering. lol I would never pester someone to do a post – it’s up to you when (and if! you do it. Some award posts are quite time consuming, too, especially the Liebster one, where you have to check how many followers people have got!
        I’m about to do another award post this week, and I’d love to nominate you for that. It’s a quicker one to to, and would suit your blog as you do creative writing/flash fiction. (It’s the Creative Blogger Award.) I’ll nominate you – but you can always decline, or put it on hold for a while. No expiry date.
        As for me and ff. I love doing it, and am rarely stuck for ideas. They don’t take long to write, either. It’s just the follow up that takes ages. I love reading and commenting on other stories, but it takes so long! My poor book will still be sat there, looking sorry for itself, this time next year if I go on like this.
        And I like to put up a few historical and travel posts now and then – as I will do after I’ve been to Wales next week.
        I’ll stop rabbiting now…! Thank you for your kind wishes, and don’t worry about getting award posts done. ‘Whenever’ is the key word.
        Best wishes to you, too. Millie ❤

      3. I remember when I got started with blogging it was a smooth ride and then all of a sudden I got addicted to it. Very soon I found myself juggling between reading, writing and commenting. There was no other option than to increase my reading speed. Good for me!
        Awards are time consuming specially where you have to check the number of followers.
        I’m so happy that you have got the creative blogger award too. As you said “rarely stuck for ideas” an award well deserved. You are super creative.: ) I sometimes get stuck.
        I’ve been wanting to complete something that I’m writing but cannot find the time. How do you mange your time with everything? Now don’t let the book feel sorry and sit glum, go and cheer it up. You have the ideas, lots of it, so hope that you attend your book.
        Thanks for sharing the award with me Millie. It’s not only the awards but also your words that are no less than an award for me as it helps me to take that one little step towards writing. I say this because I have started writing only two or three years back. There is a lot to learn. 🙂

      4. Finding time for blogging, writing and reading is very hard! I like to read and I started off reviewing books I’d read on Goodreads and so on. Now I rarely find time to read, let alone write reviews. Blogging can take over your life, if you’re not careful, so sometimes you just have to ease off a little. I find doing flash fiction takes the most time. It’s not writing the stories so much, as reading and commenting on so many others in the community. We all like the feedback, so it needs to be done. I always enjoy reading them, too. But what a long time it takes.
        There’s no easy answer to this problem, but for me, I’m going to have to be firm and start putting my Book 3 first. With you, I think you need to devote most of your time to writing and getting that book finished. Don’t leave things until you retire, as I did. It’s far too late. Get yours done now.
        I intended to finish of a ff story today, but it will have to wait until tomorrow now. One post a day is more than enough! I don’t normally do more than three a week.
        I’ve no intention of closing down my blog unless I really have to. So I’ll keep on putting a couple of posts up a week and commenting on blogs I like. It’s good to talk to someone who is really keen to write a novel, and I wish you every success with yours. Go for it! ❤

  7. Hi, Millie! I finally made a Decision (I’m so bad at those!) not to do any award posts BUT I did come up with my own version of a similar sort of post… Thank you again for the nominations! 🙂 I’m loving your book, by the way! It’s so fast-paced!!

    1. I’ve just read your post and loved reading it. As you know, I’ve had no Internet all week, so I’m way behind in responding to comments, so I’ll try to catch up over the next few days.
      Thank you for liking my book! Your kind words about it are much appreciated.

      1. I’ll tell you when I’m finished! On my way to read more right now 🙂 I can imagine a week without internet can pile up some messages!

      2. Thank you, again. And yes, I do have a lot of comments, but I’m more bothered about missing so many posts. I know I won’t be able to catch up on all of those. It’s infuriating, but I can’t do anything about it. We’re seriously considering moving into Lincoln, where we’ll have the choice of a number of providers, and not just BT.

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