Blog: Mel's Muse

Showing posts categorised as 'Current Affairs'

Following The Funeral: Living With The Loss Of A Loved One

With nearly 40,000 deaths due to Coronavirus in recent months, there must be hundreds of thousands of friends and family having to live with the reality of loss. You may have been through Coping With The Initial Shock, learned, in a small way, about Looking After Yourself, dealt with...

Posted at 07:37am on 3rd June 2020

Bereavement: How To Deal With Denial, Grief & Anger Following The Death Of A Loved One

In these times of Coronavirus, many of us are suffering the death of a loved one. I wrote last time about Looking After Yourself following bereavement, and pointed out - from my own experience - the trauma of having to break the news of that loss to another family member....

Posted at 07:14am on 17th May 2020

Are You Having To Deal With The Death Of A Loved One?


I was reminded by my Facebook memories this week that it is now ten years ago since I was invited to speak on an American Radio Station about the death of my daughter. I wept. Because no matter how long ago the event, this is something...

Posted at 04:55am on 5th May 2020

What's Wrong With Human Rights? By David Cross - Book Club Summary

Quotes from the book are in italics.

Never, before, have I made so many highlights in a book! As my Book Club members said when we met yesterday evening, this was certainly a narrative that opened up debate, on a subject not often discussed. With so much material to...

Posted at 10:20am on 13th July 2019

Can Drama Be An Aid To Wellbeing?

Oh, yes! BAFTA winning actress, Jessica Hynes, who starred in the BBC Comedy Drama W1A, with Hugh Bonneville, is campaigning for drama to be given greater prominence in schools. This, she believes, can boost mental health and wellbeing in young people. I'm convinced that she is right....

Posted at 09:37am on 30th May 2019

Bodacious The Shepherd Cat By Suzanna Crampton

'What I love about Book Club, is that it makes me read books I might never, otherwise, have chosen.'

So said one member of our group when we met, yesterday, to discuss our take on Bodacious, The Shepherd Cat. How right she was! A book, supposedly written by a...

Posted at 09:43am on 16th May 2019

Thomas's Story: Overcoming Physical & Mental Struggles

My next book, Picked for a Purpose, with the strapline Bearing fruit through times of hardship, was written at the request of my publisher. Each short chapter contains a story from my life, followed by a page or two of reflections, in which I look back, with the wisdom...

Posted at 08:08am on 20th October 2018

Archbishop A Novel By Michele Guinness - Book Club Discussion Of Media Hysteria


One of the things my Book Club loved about this book, was the way humour was used to hammer home the truths we all need to know. With the enormous pressure upon her, newly elected Archbishop Vicky is all too aware of how little time...

Posted at 04:03am on 12th January 2018

The Internet - A Tower Of Babel?

Let me be clear: I love the internet. The advantages are indescribable. For me, as an author, it facilitates research, enlarges my readership, and enables me to make friends via social media. As a mother, aunt and cousin, it affords photographic and written information to be shared...

Posted at 04:56am on 5th June 2017

Lessons Learned From Life Re Politics


God gave me an apple tree in the Garden of Eden.
It will provide shelter for my family
It will feed my family
Fallen branches will cook my food and heat my home
I shall work hard and create an orchard


Dad passed his...

Posted at 06:02am on 6th May 2017

Fire Destroys The Royal Clarence Hotel In Exeter

Shock, horror, I've just heard on the BBC News that there's been a fire in Exeter's Cathedral Yard and that it's spread into the Royal Clarence Hotel. Because my novels in the Evie Adams' series are set here, I have copies of the books in the hotel. Here...
Posted at 05:47am on 28th October 2016

Does Glamorising Abusive Sexual Relationships Adversely Influence Society?

I came across this old post, Modern Morality: What is its Place in Contemporary Fiction, by chance and wondered if it had any relevance to the recent discussion on BBC Newsnight about the influence that the book, 50 Shades of Grey, might have in 'normalising' abusive sexual relationships.  While Friedman's...

Posted at 04:26am on 11th February 2015

Dear Mel, What Do You Know Of Author, Paul Gallico

On this night, the one-hundredth anniversary of the sinking of Titanic, comes a reminder of the sinking of another ship, the MV Victoria

Hi Ms. Menzies,

I performed a Google search on author, Paul Gallico and your name came up, and I noticed you used to work for him. ...

Posted at 13:44pm on 14th April 2012

Online Book Club Discussion Summary: A Time To Live By George Pitcher

Are you in favour of assisted dying?  Would you like British law to be amended to allow euthanasia?  Or is the risk of abuse to the elderly, disabled and infirm too great a concern?

Most of my real-time Book Club members admitted, when we met on 28th July, 2011, that they'd...

Posted at 11:00am on 3rd August 2011

Online Book Club Questions: A Time To Live By George Pitcher

QUESTIONS How did reading the book either confirm or change your previous opinions about euthanasia / assisted dying? What, in your opinion, were the most persuasive arguments put by the author against...
Posted at 09:29am on 2nd August 2011

Ebook Price-fixing: Who Gets Hurt In The End?

I'm delighted, today, to include an article by Angela Hoy, on the topic of price-fixing the unit cost of e-books - a practice which will, ultimately, lead to a monopoly and, therefore, destroy choice for the end-user - readers!

Do let me know what your views are. Comments are moderated, and your contact details will...

Posted at 17:32pm on 18th February 2010

Uv Readers' Group & Online Book Club: The Reluctant Fundamentalist - Discussion Summary

My UV Readers’ Group met last Thursday, 21st January, to discuss The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid and, as always, we had plenty to say! First and foremost that we had found the book an enjoyable and compelling read, with the sinister elements evident from the start and building to a climactic conclusion.



Posted at 18:28pm on 29th January 2010

British Law Undermines Parental Authority: Novel Shows How

I wrote, last week, about the sad story of Kate Walsh who, at the tender age of sixteen, became a heroin addict and died, alone in a dirty squat. Her parents had asked, repeatedly, for help from various authorities and received none. They had, as the Coroner described it at Kate’s Inquest, fallen...

Posted at 12:27pm on 10th November 2009

Heroin Addicts Like Kate Walsh Show That The Grey Areas Of British Law Need A Black & White Reform

We read, this week, of a situation which has complied with British law but which is, nevertheless, a grave miscarriage of justice. Kate Walsh’s parents, when their sixteen year old daughter died of heroin in a dirty squat, were denied the protection that the law is supposed to provide. They are not alone. British law...

Posted at 18:01pm on 4th November 2009

Sex Education And Teenage Pregnancy

“Do cats get married, Daddy?”

The question came from my four-year old granddaughter. She’s one of twins, and is obsessed by cats.

“Nope,” Daddy replied.

“Then how do they have babies?” asked Millie.

With the news of a thirteen year-old fathering a child fresh in his mind, and wanting to foster a sense of relationship, my son-in-law...

Posted at 19:07pm on 15th February 2009

Golliwog Banned: And Tv Presenter Carol Thatcher With Him

As a little girl, I owned a much loved golliwog. I have no idea who gave it to me, nor what their motive was in doing so. I can only conclude that it was a toy of its era, and that the gift was intended to please and delight me. And so it...

Posted at 12:59pm on 5th February 2009

Proof That God Does Not Exist? Look No Further Than A Bendy Bus!

There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life. So says the 800 or so advertisements that now adorn London’s bendy-buses, as the result of a campaign by The British Humanist Society (BHA), funded by Prof. Richard Dawkins.

Really? Now what do you say to that?

Much has been made of that word ‘probably’....

Posted at 12:44pm on 11th January 2009

Overcoming Shame: Are We Guilty Of A Guilty Conscience?

I was reading about a man – Jeff Lucas – who described himself, in his younger years, as a “shame addict”. The term resonated with me and sparked a sitting-up in bed, early morning debate – though, sadly, without a cuppa to accompany it.

“That describes me years ago,” I said.

“Yes!” my husband agreed. “But...

Posted at 18:00pm on 6th January 2009

Animal Rights Stuff

This surely has to be the stuff of comedy? I mean I know we, in Britain, are a nation of animal lovers, but do we need a whacking great document telling us how we should look after them, with a threat of a £20,000 fine if we stray from the guidelines? What are these people...

Posted at 15:40pm on 8th November 2008

Bank Of England Bail Out Versus House Repossessions 2008

Now I’m not an economist, and neither do I read economist reports. But I am a human being! And it seems to me that it’s not difficult to see a great injustice going on in today’s troubled times. What’s even more galling is that wherever you come across it, there’s always someone benefiting from injustice....

Posted at 11:25am on 20th October 2008

Cool Brittania: The Good, The Bad - And The Utterly Sublime!


The Good News is that we have a National Health Service at all! Even better are the advances made in medical science, which mean that conditions like Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) can be treated. Best of all is that there are courageous people out there who fight unfair decisions by NICE (a...

Posted at 18:17pm on 28th September 2008

Credit Crunch: The Personal Pain And Gain

Related Posts: Ten Tips to Stay Free From Debt; Ten Tips To Get Rid of Debt EFFECTS OF THE CREDIT CRUNCH

Watching the UK’s Channel 4 TV programme Dispatches on the human cost of the credit crunch was heartbreaking. First there was the man (Jamaican, I think) who’d worked all his life on the buses. Masking his...

Posted at 08:23am on 24th September 2008

How We Little People Can Change Big Bank Pay-outs - Open Letter To Lloyds Tsb

Mr Eric Daniels,
Lloyds TSB Chief

Dear Mr Daniels,


I see, from my Daily Telegraph today (and trust that this is accurate) that subsequent to your takeover of the failed bank HBOS, you are planning to give Mr Andy Hornby, the failed CEO of...

Posted at 14:26pm on 19th September 2008

Divorce & Family Law - Does It Affect Us All?

Other Posts on Books & Reading: The Isolation of Being Unable to Read STATISTICS OF SINGLE PARENTS

What do you think of when you read of mothers raising children without fathers? Does it incite you to indignation? Rage? And if so, against whom? The mothers who so ruthlessly exploit the benefits system with serial offspring by...

Posted at 22:45pm on 17th September 2008

Memories Of 9.11.2001

Other Posts on Current Affairs: Rick Warren

I thought that in memory of all who lost their lives, and those who lost loved ones, I would reproduce the comment I left on The New York Times online.


I expect, like me, you've been thinking about the terrible events of seven years ago. But can you remember...

Posted at 22:52pm on 11th September 2008

The Isolation Of Being Unable To Read

Related topics:
59 Million Keywords to Publication
Reading Between The Lines EFFECTS OF ILLITERACY

Have you ever thought what it would be like if you were unable to read or understand a word of this blog? Doubtless you would be feeling the same shame and isolation as the people I wrote about in my post: Reading Between the...

Posted at 18:11pm on 8th September 2008

Paedophiles Offered Castration, Daily Telegraph Reports

Other Posts on Current Affairs: Rick Warren

Paedophiles are to be offered a chemical castration following completion of their sentence, in order to prevent re-offending, so we’re told. The report reminded me of a story I heard recently, when we were dining with friends. Ted (not his real name) is a retired Headmaster and a Lay...

Posted at 22:59pm on 27th August 2008

New York Times Comments On Rick Warren's Forum


Should politics and religion mix? This is the question which is vexing the readers of the New York Times – and probably many more of the population.


An article by the columnist William Kristol, titled Showdown at Saddleback, was what prompted the dispute. It seems that Rev. Rick...

Posted at 11:47am on 21st August 2008

Reading Between The Lines

Related topics:
Books & Reading
The Isolation Of Being Unable To Read CAN’T READ, CAN’T WRITE

Did anybody watch the UK’s Channel 4’s Can’t Read, Can’t Write series? It focused on people from different backgrounds and ages: the young mother who was unable to help with her children’s homework, the labourer who longed to improve his job prospects,...

Posted at 14:41pm on 15th August 2008

Does My Bum Look Big In This? (or That Wretched F-word Again)

A fortnight ago I wrote that legislation against the use of certain words (like Chav) is ludicrous and went on to quote from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet: What's in a name? that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. “It’s not the word that’s at fault,” I said. “What’s...

Posted at 09:07am on 4th August 2008

Drugs & Human Rights - The God Of The Era

Click for related post: Parent Power = Kids' Confidence

I wonder how this generation of policy-makers will go down in history? Human Rights, it seems, is the god of the era. It certainly takes precedence over any sort of morality. And common sense? Well that's out of the window.

I refer to...

Posted at 10:23am on 1st August 2008

Is The F-word Foul?

Whatever happened to the old saying, 'Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me'? They can, of course. But only if we let them. Have we become a nation of wimps that we have to talk of legislation to prevent the use of certain words? Words like Chav, for...

Posted at 19:56pm on 21st July 2008

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