Jul 19th

Plotting panic

By Squidge

I've got to a point in my current WIP that needs a bit of thought about how the next bit's plotted. Many of you know I'm more of a pantser than a plotter, so this is pretty routine for me. Plotting doesn't come easily, but I usually manage to fill in a plot hole and make it work. Eventually.

Not this time.

I know exactly what happens in my story. I know which character is going to (unwittingly) betray the others. I know which character is masquerading as someone else and I know which character is going to realise that and go the rescue. 

But can I make it WORK? Can I heck as like.

I have drawn a flow chart of action, trying to sort it out. I've tried post it notes too, but the different strands refuse to link into a coherent whole, and it is, quite frankly, getting to me. I took myself off for a walk. Did the washing and the ironing. Even had a snooze this afternoon, but I simply cannot make this plotline come together.

Am I making it too difficult for myself? Do I need to simplify it? How? What will I lose from the overall story arc if I make it too easy for the MC? 

I can feel The Fear that I'm going to fail sitting on my shoulder and whispering 'what's the point in trying to write any more til you've sorted this out?' and I want to tell it to BOG OFF! But then I look at my scribblings and crossings out and feel like giving up.

*sigh*

Maybe I just need to ignore this bit for now. Move on, write the bits that are coming easily and then try to stitch them all together afterwards. You never know, I might have thought of a way through while I'm writing them.

Either that, or I'll have pulled all my hair out in frustration. 

Actually, just reading this through before pressing 'post' and I realised - I've been here before. 'I know exactly what happens in my story.' I'm too much in the driving seat and not in my character's head enough to make it HER story. Maybe it's not me that needs to work things through, but my MC? Hmmmm....

Jul 5th

Beach Crap

By Mat

Beach Crap

by brightonsauce

Give it a polish later on x/ end fix is ‘winding me up.’

I pursued simple duties at the shoreline –

–  and collected a condom from the sand, and a soft turd laid anonymously on the beach steps.  How we never catch them at it, is our mantra..in the business.  I curled  these evacuees, these victims – together in my fist like in some very progressive partnership, in hand – and I returned to the office –  after visiting our dustbins.  I think I did, I’ll have to check our CCTV… [no GOOD, no, edit]

When two lads bundled into that office.

‘There he is,’ they said, ‘that’s the bastard.’

They wanted to fight me, or to stab me – due to some slur I never even made…or considered – ever.

Our scene unfolded with shouting, jabbering, jabbing, and accusation.  I stood from the wheelie-chair, I talked them down from their rage,

‘Gentlemen…’ I said..

to the two men bouncing in their tracksuits.

So, a respect was shared. And over.

But for a moment in that stand-off it nearly did ‘kick-off,’ mightily. There mightily have been blood on our walls.

To my shame, for one brief instant, the thought–

‘I’ll kill you both before you kill me,’

did pass through my mind – but not for long, your honours.

And I did not mention that passing thought/that spike of hell – in my mind – in my official report on the hotmail.

Conclusion – they did not kill me, I did not kill them, neither.

Still, I, for one, remain an arsehole forever.  As I said to the 20 stone deckchair attendant, our Roly Polaroid

‘Always run…in these situations.’

He said nothing to my advice.  He only stared, and he swallowed.

But,  back in the previous scene.  Was the ruffian carrying a knife?  Why keep your hand in the pocket?  Why, walk out and swiftly return to my office?  Were you unfolding your blade?  [my, how this imagination spins..]

Meanwhile, I shook hands with the other fellow, his compatriot.  Eye to eye, I did it, chaps, and defused the apocalypse, obviously.

After the ‘yobbos’ – somebody’s word, no – criminals, no – they were young guys – after they left I harboured horrible adrenaline, and sadness.    I’ll have to watch out for the tracksuit man – catching my bus home – my god, like adolescence, like my 1983 revisited.

The next day I drank coffee early in the morning with the sunlight on my cheek,

‘Ahhh,’

a bright, happy morning, as an old gentleman strolled into the office without his spectacles.  I, of course as a public servant read the tide times for him.  And he was, I sensed,  lonely, and he hadn’t expressed a while, and people do need to share, and they should, and he said:

‘You know, mate…

…on July 17th, 2006, I was walking down this very beach down there.

…That’s the moment when my dog foamed at the mouth, and we both looked skyward, and literally fifty feet over our heads an enormous flying saucer hovvered, all silent and powerful.

…I told Julie at the book-makers, she said that was probably the third space ship she’d heard about in the last five years.  So, what do you think, pal?’ he said.

There has, you see, been plenty of action – going on-down – in my lifestyle.

Self-consciousness about being a ‘cockney’ in the North of England has now mainly disappeared.  I am step by step stealing father’s Yorkshire dialect, the one that  emerged on the motorway rides toward Bridlington.  It is a lovely job, keeping a beautiful place beautiful –  and I make a grand display with the turds – like theatre – [not Brid, apols], and talking to the oldies on their strolls, I love them also, very much.

And also the problem with a horrible story, that one back there – is that you share it, and repeat your boreface to colleagues – and really one should bite one’s tongue off, and spit it out.  Now, you understand my confusion?  But I do have a good friend on the bouncy castles [pertinent].  And, as is never the way with these things, he’s some kind of professor-intellectual, a cricket man.  We trade stories.

His story

The fairground inspector was on his way – any moment now, and the horses were polished, and spinning, the castle inflated, the teacups empty.  And the gate closed.  So, when a middle-aged civilian-man arrived at this gate with his infant in tow, and said –

‘Can we have a ride, please?’

He said, ‘You’ll have to wait for one hour, I have the inspector on his way…’

The chap replied – ‘What kind of jobsworth fucker are you? I am going to smash your face in…and what about my little kiddy riding teacups?  You prick, and molester and I hope you die screaming in flames,’ and so on…

Our chap was most taken aback.  Even so, a year later on, this fairground man felt emboldened enough to visit a distant pub, and he ordered a round of drinks.

The barman placed the five pints on the counter.

‘You can have these ones on me, sir,’ he said.

‘Oh.’

‘You don’t recognise me, do you? .. I was the fool with his child.

… I want to say to you, now – how dreadfully sorry I shall always remain for my behaviour of a year ago – and how I worry about that day – on every other single day, on every other morning.  Can I do for you, one thing, anything at all ever, please? Tell me now, sir…yours, in  my apology, and with my most sincerest of respects…’

‘Thank you,’ said the fairground man.  He chewed his cheek in a  great rumination, and said….’five packets of your salt and vinegar crisps,’ he said, ‘and two pickled eggs.’

(and) All the best

Mat 

Jul 3rd

National Anthem

By Dolly

I wouldn't say I've been glued to the telly recently, but I have been watching some of the games taking place, and been caught up in the oddity of national anthems. I'm not all that familiar with languages, I have enough problems with English. All the same, some of them do sound weird, even though I know which country its from. The most familiar are the French and German, but I've never heard the Croatian and Japanese anthems before and was completely thrown by them, probably by the language and their understanding of music, although everyone seem to join in the fun.

The English for their part seemed belt it out with gusto, well some of them did, and I wondered if people at home hummed tum-te-tummed along with it, or sang it out loud. There might be of course, others, with patriotic fervour coursing through their veins, who would leap to their feet in front of the telly and sing it louder than anyone else while saluting.

There was a time, back in the good old days of one telly channel when the presenters wore dinner jackets and dickey bows, or if you were female, an evening gown, when they played the national anthem and the end of the day's viewing, which usually occurred around nine thirty or ten at the weekend. Honest!

This also occurred in cinemas at the end of the last showing, and you were supposed stand as a mark of respect and not move until the anthem had finished. Some people though, would stand up near the end of the film, walk backwards up the aisle, and time it so they reached the exit just as the film finished and the anthem began and could make a quick getaway! Honest!

I did wonder if the queen ever sang silently along with while it was being sung to her, and whether she altered the words slightly, along the lines of: 'God save our gracious me, long live our noble me, God save our me, send me victorious happy and glorious

god save our me!'

Jun 25th

Renaming, Removing, Rewriting History

By Squidge

I'll apologise up front - I'm not usually controversial, but this one has got me thinking and wondering; 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-44604844

Wondering what other cloudies think? 

I'm in a bit of a quandary about it; I loved the books as a child. I always accepted that they were historic and of their time, and that how they were written was how the people who lived back then viewed the world and the people in it. Especially people who weren't like them. I knew - even as a child - that it shouldn't be like that. 

By doing things like taking an author's name off an award simply because their writing doesn't fit what we know is right and acceptable in this moment in time, are we in danger of removing too much of 'what life was like back then'? I can totally understand that for eg, the way Native Americans are portrayed is not complimentary. And there are probably hundreds - thousands - of books in which the author expresses a view about 'other' people that would have been considered acceptable at the time of writing, but is considered inappropriate now. There's been something recently about Einstein (I think it was him) writing a travel journal and he is most uncomplimentary about people of other races. Do we now ignore the theory of relativity because of that?

Do we retain these books, these writings, these author's names to remind us never to go back to that place? Or remove them - like we're removing statues and portraits of those judged wanting by today's society's 'norms' - and try to forget these awful things ever happened? 

 

Which way is better? And where do we draw the line about what we keep and what we hide from sight? 

Not sure I know...but I think I would lean more towards having examples that we can point to and say 'that was wrong' than wiping stuff away and kidding ourselves we've always done the right thing. 

Jun 24th

a cultural hub

By mike

      Mat mentioned that Wren building!

 

      If you come to north London and wish to visit ‘The Tate Modern’ on the southbank of the Thames, it is best to head for St Paul’s Cathedral.   The cathedral and the southbank are linked by a footbridge.  This footbridge is called the Millennium Bridge but it is still known as the Wobbly Bridge.

       If a Londoner proposes ‘Let’s meet at the Southbank,” he might mean ‘The Southbank Centre’ rather than the southbank of the river. This centre originated in the ‘Festival of Britain of 1951 and ‘The Festival Hall’ is still there. 

     The southbank, as a cultural hub, now stretches from Westminster Bridge to Tower Bridge and slightly further.  You can walk to Rotherhithe along the ‘Thames Path’ but the buildings soon become residential.

    The stretch of the southbank from London Bridge to the Tate Modern is known as Bankside and this is where the reconstructed Globe is situated.  I can remember a time when the site of the Globe was a carpark for the local council; Sam Wanamaker was denied permission to build there.   The Globe was reconstructed about twenty years ago.

    My interest arose when I photographed what was called ‘The Pool of London’ and is now called ‘London Bridge City.’ I had been standing midpoint on London Bridge and, using a wide angle lens, recorded the scene with Tower Bridge at the midpoint of the photograph.

   It had been a foggy, misty morning and I showed the photograph to some work colleagues. The comments were one the lines of ‘How Dickensian!   i could see the point, but in the foreground was a jetty built recently for the ferry service.  I did some research and,if Dickens now stood on London Bridge and looked downriver, there are only two or three buildings he would recognise but the view is still Dickensian.

 

   I am reading a biography of E.S.Nesbit.  This was written in the 1930’s and revised in 1960.  I notice a new biography will be published this year.  Episodes of Nesbit’s life are often included in biographies and histories of the period as she was one of the first members of ‘The Fabian Society’ 

    Nesbit returned to Halstead all her life to revisit the countryside of  her childhood.  

    Yesterday,  I met a walker on a local footpath and she told me some sad news.  Land around Knockholt  Station  -band Halstead - has been designated for housing projects.

    The biographer also notes of Nesbit: ‘ ...she must, I suppose, be regarded as one of the pioneers of public smoking for women..’  I wonder if the new biography will mention this.

 

      A breath of fresh air.

 

      i have often walked along the footpaths in Kent and the views are quite different from those seen from a car or train window.

      ‘Leaves Green’ is little more than a village sign.  It is also a bus stop on the A233 out of London.  A few days ago I alighted at this bus stop and crossed the village green where I parted the leaves in search of a footpath.  My brain froze.

        In the distance, a small white aeroplane lay half submerged in what seemed to be a field of rape.  The small portholes were at an angle and it seemed as though the plane was sinking in a sea of green. Such are the effects of perspective!   

    Sanity returned.  A few bus stops along the A233 is Biggin Hill which is now a civilian airport.  

   

Jun 19th

A green and pleasant land

By mike

  Knockholt and Chelsfield are two stations on the commuter line linking London to Sevenoaks in Kent.  Knockholt Station should have been called Halstead but the name Knockholt was chosen to avoid confusion with another Halstead in Essex.

     Knockholt parish is centered on Knockholt Pound.  Knockholt Pound is few miles from Knockholt Station and both are a few miles from Knockholt village.   This is confusing!

     Is there any reason for anyone - apart from weary commuters - to alight at these stations?   Is there any reason to walk across the railway bridge at Chelsfield? Is there any reason to look down the railway cut towards Knockholt?   Is there any reason to wave at passing trains? 

   This is the railway cut that inspired ‘The Railway Children‘ 

    E.S.Nesbit spent the happiest years of her childhood in Halstead and it is recalled that she walked across the fields or paths to Knockholt or Chelmsfield and the newly built railway line.   The area had its own painter, Samuel Palmer, who lived at Shoreham. He might well have walked the few miles to Chelsfield.

    I have been exploring this area by foot and the local buses.  I live near a station on the same commuter line - though further towards London.   

    Chelsfield Village is separated from Chelsfield Station by the Orpington bypass and they seem separate entities.   The village is surrounded by farmland. 

   Chelsfield Village had been a childhood home of  the author, Miss Read.  Does anybody remember Miss Read?

   In the 1970 film of ‘The Railway Children’, the location had been the Yorkshire moors of the Brontes.  The  Keighley and Worth Valley Railway was chosen for its vintage stations and railway stock.

    Sadly, there might have been a suitable Kent line which could have been used as a  location for the film. This line was axed by Beeching  

    Most of the ‘Westerham Flyer’ was demolished by 1967.  This line ran from Westerham to Dunton Green where it joined the main line to London.  The two intermediate stations were Chevening and Brasted.  There were five miles of track.

      Brasted is one of the villages on the A25 from Westerham to Sevenoaks..  A path at the rear of the church leads to a noisy road where the path ceases to be.     

   Brasted Station is under the concrete of the M2 motorway!

 

Jun 9th

Writing Blind for Those Who Can See

By TheWeyMan

As a colour-blind person, the nature of colour has never been something of particular importance to me, unless it serves a challenge – unfortunately, as with other conditions, the challenges are imperceptible to those around you. I’m not saying that I am comparable to a paraplegic or those completely without sight, but there are certain things that are ever so slightly tainted as a direct result.

My nan and her sister (and parents) were all talented artists in their own way. Granny, as she prefers to be known, would tell me how she and her sister would argue over the name of a shade of purple for example. ‘No, it’s mauve.’ ‘Don’t be ridiculous, it’s lilac.’ This baffled me as a child who had never - and still hasn’t - witnessed the colour purple in it’s true form.

I have ‘deuteranopia’ or by it’s common name ‘red-green colour-blindness’. I’ve never been completely sure whether colour-blindness is a spectrum or a ‘you have it or you don’t’ kind of condition. I suppose this is hard to tell when you have unreliable participants for studies. How can you compare perception? Either way, mine is significant enough that when I show people what I can see, there is an immediate sympathetic response. It’s not what I’m after, I’m just helping them to understand. (See picture – if I’m allowed to post it).

The first real challenge this (disability?) gave me was drawing. One particular event has stuck with me since it happened. I was probably five or six. We were learning about the Victorians at school and part of our lesson consisted of us drawing what we thought the Victorians looked like. I wasn’t bad at the sketching part, though I doubt it would have made it onto the fridge! It was the colouring that tested me, so I sought help. I asked my best friend, Dan, to pass me the pencils I needed. Blue for the sky – I drew the strip of blue for the sky, leaving the middle white, of course. Why would there be sky behind people? Then I asked for brown for their clothes. I coloured in their rags, complete with holes to show their hard, poverty-stricken lives. A bit of green for the grass.

Then he started laughing.

‘What?’ I asked, but he didn’t tell me.

More laughs from a few others. What was it? Their hands weren’t particularly well formed, but they definitely weren’t the worst effort in the class.

‘Why do you think they all wore green?’ asked my teacher. ‘And why is the sky purple?’

I just shrugged.

Red and green are not the only colours affected, though they do play an important part. I can’t tell the difference between blue and purple due to the red element, brown and green are the same depending on tone, orange and yellow, red and brown, pink and grey (which can be odd sometimes – I once thought I saw a pink poodle but was swiftly corrected).

People ask me how I know when to stop for traffic lights and I joke that I know the red light’s at the top and the green’s at the bottom. This isn’t the case. Bright tones such as these I can tell the difference between. Murky tones are the hardest to distinguish and this becomes easier as they get brighter, traffic lights are no problem at all.

And this brings me to writing – sorry it took so long…

I’ve not been writing for a long time, less than two years, but one of the things that challenges me the most is description of colour. I can have a vivid picture in my mind of what I would see, but not what the majority of my readers would see. How do I know if I’m describing the colours, the tones correctly? I find myself searching my memory for words used in other books or on TV or by Granny. If they’ve said it, it must be right. But I want to make it my own, so I twist and change the colours to fit in with my imagination, and of what I think colours should look like if it weren’t for my useless retinal cones. I hope others see what I want them to see, not a poor translation of my dulled version of reality.

I’ve come to realise, recently, that it doesn’t matter too much. Perhaps, in fact, I should think of it as a novelty for my readers and, in my second WIP, I’ve even woven it into my main character, who happens to be colour-blind. I’ve described it as a different way of seeing the world (which it is) and one that assists in the story (via some embellishment).

I’m sure most people wouldn’t even realise they were reading the work of a colour-blind writer. No matter how descriptive one’s work, the reader will always have their own perception of how it looks, feels and even smells (maybe tastes if they’re extra creative).

Colour is just another aspect that can be filled in by imagination and I’ve decided not to let it concern me.

I can always seek council, though probably not from Dan! (we are still in touch, and I’ll never let him forget).

 

Picture 1 - Matt vision = deuteranopia

Image result for colour blind photo

 

Picture 2 - All of these look exactly the same to me other than darkening tone from left to right.

Image result for colour blind photo balloon

Jun 3rd

What Squidge-style drafting looks like

By Squidge

I'm in the middle of a new project, and caught myself editing as I go along, rather thn doing completely separate edit versions. I thought it would be a helpful reminder to myself to 'capture' some of the naff quality stuff in the drafting phase to remind myself of just how bad I can write before it gets polished up into something worthy of publication.

So I blogged about what drafting a novel REALLY looks like, and you can read it HERE on the Scribbles, if you're interested. 

Course - even version 3 isn't the finished thing. There'll be at least another edit or two before it goes off to the publisher, and there'll be at least two edits again...but they're more fine-tuning than hacket jobs! 

 

 

May 31st

BEACH GOD

By Mat

Well, masterpiece did not attract single reader on the web - save for my stalker pensioner buddy.  I'll try beloved Wordcloud.

BEACH GOD

by brightonsauce

silly dr1/possible tense conf issew

Brighton Winter

Photograph from personal portfolio available @12.99 per signed copy from Mat Scarborough, YO11

Drigby Foreshore

Inside the beach management office, the office I manage on a weekend basis as the beach management weekend superintendent there is a collage of photographs and snaps on the wall.  The great storm of ’79 shows the beach chalets smashed against the headland – like matchsticks [out the box].  The residents of the said chalets are spread and tagged at the ear.  A suprintentendent of yesteryear wears his fisherman’s smock and attempts in his futility to match kettle to corpse, teabags to twisted remains.

Thankfully, with the internet there is no such chance of big waves destroying my beach management complex office-hut affixed sturdily to the café next door, and where their jacket potatoes are a masterpiece of cuisine, and I get a discount.  If I wanted to – I might eat potatoes every day, and we don’t have internet connection actually, only a wind-up telephone and a clutch of beautiful lifeboys [RNLI].

Now, I’m getting ahead of myself.  Collages are on the wall, indeed.  Staring into the crowd of faces from ’33, I sense the tea dance is over[,] and there[,] amidst the folk a most beautiful handsome blonde man stares into camera.  My god it is me.  Yes, I have returned to the foreshore.

‘Look, it’s me!’ I say to Derick the maintenance chief.

‘Aye, and there’s me,’ he says, and actually it is him.  ‘Demobbed after Paschendale,’ he says, ‘I needed a job…’

‘But that would make you 122 years old,’ I say.

‘121,’ he says, ‘but don’t tell gaffer.’

‘Of course not, buddy,’ I say.

‘Reckon no, kiddo,’ he confirms.  He calls me Kiddo, I like that familiarity.

The only problem to date with the new posting has been the fog.  The fog has bleached my vista.  I stand on the slipway.  I might as well stand on a cloud.  I believe the sea is there somewhere, and also the beach, and possibly people on the beach, and possibly dogs – illegal and criminal dogs.  But I cannot chase the dogs if I cannot see the dogs.

I said to Derick ‘I can’t see any dogs…’

‘You are doing a brilliant job, Kiddo,’ he says.

On Drigby foreshore there is the one [other] disconcerting aspect to the posting.  That would be the toilet.

‘You will show me, Derick?’ I say.  ‘Last Saturday I lacked moral fibre and tossed rolls like hand grenades through the door.  The ladies, they were standing everywhere.

‘A great terror, the Ladies,’ says Derick.

‘Are you sure that’s my job?’ I say. ‘Head office wouldn’t just give me a baseball cap for nothing, eh?’

‘I’ll run you through [cubicles] when we have a quiet moment,’ he says, and I ruminate the possibility of sneaking a widdle – solo in the ladies’ lavatory.  Fight the power.

Mainly I must chronicle two achievements:

  1. Lifebelts – What kind of council official dictates that the beach manager Drigby Central beach seasonal must also inspect the lifebelts over at Coalsteeth Harbour – which is 4 miles away?

Thankfully, Derick has a BMX for me and so I pedalled and discovered this most beautiful attractive village that markets toward sophisticated book-reading artist people like me/us.  For whilst Drigby is renowned for its whelk and mussel harvest, Coalsteeth is rather more lobster restaurant.  AND all the lifebelts above the waterline are in [good] working order.

  1. The tree

It may not be ambergris or jet but I retrieved a tree from the North Sea.  I gave the tree to Derick.  I feel there is love between us – blossoming as I have established credentials of great strength, and for his part Derick said ‘come September we’ll have a mushroom each to sit upon.’

If I find more trees I shall blog details, possibly market my sea trees, God knows where Neptune plants them all?

 

Adios

May 31st

Unknown, Alternative Historical Facts

By Dolly

                                    

                                             Napoleon

During his first time in exile, and just before his return to France, and his subsequent defeat at the hands of Wellington, Napoleon became increasingly paranoid about his height. He would often walk around the island, closely followed by a servant, who would be carrying sheets of paper, a quill, and some ink.

During these walks, he would frequently stop some of the local males and ask them for their shoe size. The logic behind this was to do with height. The smaller the foot, the smaller the person, and vice-versa. Unfortunately for Napoleon, this wasn’t always the case, as he found someone with small feet who was almost six foot!

Realising that this gave results that weren’t always accurate, he resorted to asking their inside leg measurement as well as their shoe size, thereby hoping to find someone with shorter legs than him. Logic decreed that if they had shorter legs, they would be shorter in height. To his delight, he found the system worked perfectly. When he did find someone, he would ask their name, which would be recorded by the servant, along with their address, marital status, religion, where they were born, shoe size, and inside leg measurement.

Finding someone with shorter legs than him, gave Napoleon a great amount of pleasure, as it meant that person was shorter than he was. It also meant that he could have a good old gloat, and call the person ‘short arse! Or, due to the peculiarities of the French language, ‘the arse that is short!’ Unfortunately for Napoleon, the locals began to rebel, by pretending not be in, and even going to the lengths of hiding or building the equivalent of

 

priest holes and secret places in cellars and attics. However, Napoleon soon got wise to this, was having none of it, and started carrying a tape measure around with him along with two or three hefty armed guards, who would drag the unfortunate screaming islander out from his hiding place, where his inside leg measurements and shoe size were forcibly taken. Napoleon even tried to introduce a law which made it compulsory for every male to go to designated points on the island and have their inside leg measurement and shoe size recorded yearly.

Shortly after the episodes of shoe sizes and inside leg measurements, and when Napoleon had more or less gone through the entire male population of the island and knew all the short arses, he started using the word ‘wack-ado’ in various forms. Sometimes he would use it as a reply to a greeting.

'How’s it going Bony?' someone would say.

Napoleon would often reply with a wink, a wave of the hand and “Wack-ado!' Or even, 'Wack-ado, wack-ado!'

There were times when he used it almost as a question, and would frown and say, 'Wack-ado?'

Then, one day, he found he could sing it, and spent the next few days singing nothing but, 'Wack-ado, Wack-ado, Wack-ado!'

No one knows where he got all this stuff from, perhaps it was some form of mental aberration caused by his fall from being the most powerful man in Europe, to someone taking inside leg measurements and shoe sizes on Elba. Whatever it was, the locals took quite a shine to it, and is still used to this

 

 

day on the island. On Napoleon’s birthday, all the males on the island go to designated ’polling booths’ where they have their inside leg measurement and their shoe size recorded. Later, in the evening, everyone gets kitted out in traditional dress, gather round large bonfires, and sing Wack-ado, Wack-ado, Wack-do! All night long.

Rumour has it, that in the early nineteen fifties, an American songwriter visiting the island, heard it and said, 'I can use that for backing singers in a song!'

 

 

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