Monday 26 March 2018

Review: Clearing the Bones

By Bank Square Books -, CC BY-SA 4.0,
Clearing the Bones by Celeste Ng
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This story is available on the BBC Short Story Podcast read by Laurel Lefkow (Twitter: @laurellefkow ) .

An older sister questions her younger sibling's choice of partner.

****SPOILER ALERT ***** her doubts about John turn to an envious acceptance and a view of a different sister than she had guarded and taken care of when young, a meat eater now no longer a vegetarian.

ashramblings verdict 4* This is my first read of anything by Celeste Ng. I loved the double meaning ending as she views the meat in the butcher's  "How solid this muscle , how nourishing, how simple. You could live on this richness"

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Wednesday 21 March 2018

Review: To the Lighthouse

To the Lighthouse To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Is this Woolf at her best? The consummate guide to people looking. Go with the flow. Beautifully narrated by Juliet Stevenson, whose vocal tone I find entrancing.

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Monday 19 March 2018

Irish Solitaire by Sheila Ash

Green velvet
draped like northern lights
swings soulfully above towering spires of red stilettos

Alone, she ascends the staircase
in a silent sweeping caress
with no backward regard.

© Sheila Ash, 2018

Match Dot Com by Sheila Ash

Ad: Reasonably good looking ex professional sportsman, 6’, slim-average built, eats healthy, likes the outdoors, sports, seeking a slender, attractive lady, size 10-12, who lives within E Mids.

This cardigan charlatan
Bills himself as a sporty man
Camouflaging truth and face
in Faustian pact. He pays his dues
for unlimited access to schmooz
for unsuspecting dates.

He prowls the social media streets
A tom cat on heat
Looking for the unsuspecting
A 10 or 12 in size, a slender
beauty to greet his eyes
each morning and each evening.

Several pseudonyms disguise
his twisted whims. His roving eyes
implore from ladies’ gracious favours
Pursues his pleasures hedonistic
Seeking diversions sybaritic
to his own goal he never waivers

On Eharmany and Match Dot com
On Tinder and Badoo - A marathon
of choice dating
Each one made enticing
sounding fun and most exciting
his ad lies baiting

With eloquent abbreviation
bagged in easy flirtation
His conquests are a formality
With each passing of his role as cupid
his bank balance lushly boosted
a change of personality

another email another ipad
another site another ad
another soul lost and sad
another fool to be had

© Sheila Ash, 2018

Sunday 18 March 2018

Review: The Mystery of the Yellow Room by Gaston Leroux

The Mystery of the Yellow Room The Mystery of the Yellow Room by Gaston Leroux
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is available online at
I listened to Audible recording narrated by Simon Vance.
I've been told this is often regarded as one of the best novels based on the locked room scenario n which the perperator of a crime appears to have escaped from a locked room. Most of us will have heard of the author, Gaston Leroux, before via familiarity with The Phantom of the Opera

ashramblings verdict 4* I was certainly in the mood for a good yarn and found it a thoroughly compelling listen.

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Monday 12 March 2018

Erotica - Three Poems by Sheila Ash

The challenge for my Creative Writing Group was to write something erotic!

My hand has five fingers
Every one of them is for you:
The thumb to brush tears from your cheek
The index to trace the curve of your back
The second to enter your sanctum
The third to play falsetto to the melody of the second
The pinky to promise my eternal faithfulness
My hand conducts our concert.

Approaching dawn
Sleep lingering like the blanket of the night
You slumber on
White linens drape your back
My finger traces initials in an imaginary heart
carved for eternity in English oak
Forgetting our infidelity lies in pieces on the hotel floor.

Jay’s Euphoria
Thanks to Paula Yates for permission to photograph the frame model in her pop-up shop
Forlorn I found it in the corner of Jay’s Antiques Emporia
Surrounded by military memorabilia, garden tools, and 60s psychedelia.
A departed dressmaker’s wire frame, set to fit a 50s starlet without a name.
This potential pre-Raphaelite Ophelia lay hidden in rust and dust
The buried paraphernalia of my imagined lust.
I vinegar away the ancient grime from joints oxidised by time
I lubricate and adjust the points that size the waist and bust
With Master’s hands I work away to mould a face from potter’s clay
with true artistic guile, I Max Factor in your favourite ‘Marilyn Sunset Red’ smile.
I nourish life into my design
I clothe her in the Calvin Klein dress I bought for you
Her tiny feet inside your bridal Jimmy Choo’s
I chose the wig with great affection – brunette of course
Combed and styled in consummate perfection.
I raise her up, the music’s on. The band is playing our song.
We swing and sway and in its passion perish
Transmuted into cherished fetish
I disappear among your breasts
Your body yields to my request
”You’re here! You’re here! My wanton sweet desire.
Come, come, and come again my shameless fire.”

Wednesday 7 March 2018

Shakti run GlobalGiving Project to improve Old Age Home, Rayagada

I spent 2 yrs with Shakti (   in Rayagada, India. They are funding their second project through Global Giving, to improve the conditions in their old age persons home. This may not be the Exotic Marigold Hotel, its the other end of the spectrum, but provides care and a safe environment for these elderly people. It is great to recognise some of the people in the picture from when I was their in 2009-2011.  Hoping you can find it in your hearts to help them make their target , every little helps and will make a difference.

Review: Dead People on Facebook by Roger Ley

Dead People on Facebook Dead People on Facebook by Roger Ley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Flash fiction available online at

This is a Tragicomedy story of grief regressing into fantasy courtesy of social media.

ashramblings verdict 4* Well worth the under 10 minute read over your morning cuppa.

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Tuesday 6 March 2018

A child’s dream of adventure by Sheila Ash

Languid days when I would lie in prairie grasses nine feet high
gazing long and hard upon a dream land fresh and sweet
I’d trace the peaks and valleys there and walk its silken streets.

I’d swim in waters fresh and clear and dance from cloud to cloud
I’d take repose and rest awhile upon the billows deep
where fast and long I’d slumber on in unimpeded sleep.

Revived, refreshed, to do my best the hero I would rise
to fight the daemon dragon king with murder in its eyes
with fiery breath that blasted nigh it roamed across the skies
but with my crossbow I would cause its ultimate demise.

Or, like Jim Hawkins, I would be a runaway to ship and sea
I’d climb the rigging, raise the sails, perhaps like Ahab find a whale
or better still a secret map that told a buried treasure tale

Of places lying undiscovered, more imploring than later lovers
to the Barbary Coast with buccaneers, to the Amazon jungle with pioneers
I explored the world’s exotic places, travelling with Stevenson to Samoa,
riding the Silk Route with Marco Polo, going into space aboard Apollo.

Like Robin Hood I’d take an oath I’d never break or disavow
to help the poor subjected ones, those bent in deep kowtow
those shackled to another’s will, the crestfallen, and the cowed.

I’d run the gauntlet, forge the brook, see off invaders mean
I’d hunt the deer and track the boars that roam the forests green
Steal tarts with the Knave of Hearts, play croquet with the Queen.

I’d drive the giants from out their lair with heavy heart and grateful prayer
I’d rescue the young maiden fair and bring her safely home
then drink and wench the night away fight well in bar-rooms brawls
Have minstrels write me into songs sung late banquet halls

Then in the morning I would wake and off to school I’d go
behind me lay unfinished tales of glory and of woe
tales of heroes , tales of yore, a vampire one of blood and gore
but after class you’d find me back, nose in a book once more.

© Sheila Ash, 2018

Monday 5 March 2018

The Wreckage of the Earth by Sheila Ash

From cuttlefish to Cutty Sark
From shopping bags to plastic parts
The waste that fills the land piles high
The sea distressed gives out a sigh
Its waves cry out in constant pain
Shoring our debris as solid rain
Upon the beach where once we tread
The remnants of life on Earth now dead

© Sheila Ash, 2018

Did you see #BluePlanet2 exposé on plastics in the environment? Then support  research to #plasticfree world. Support @CuanTec #crowdfunder for ecofriendly sustainable alternatives #noplastic #plasticpollution 

Flotsam and Jetsam - - 736943
Photo Credit: Nigel Mykura [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons