About Maria Matthews

A published writer and avid reader, who likes to take a quirky look at the world about her. Bob is the steady anchor in a house governed by the mayhem of two parents and two grown children who have left home but frequently drop by to either check out the fridge or check in with Bob and Ellie. Maria's free time is divided between family, work, writing and volunteering.

Bob & Friends

It takes all sorts to make a family.

These few words prompted an idea for a photo with Bob.

But he wasn’t having any of it. As you can see,

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Just when I had them all set – he starts this, head shaking – him who normally never moves!

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Even Ellie looks annoyed with him.

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My Favourite things

I should have added and not of a chocolate kind. The reason being there was a time when I was addicted to chocolate.

Back to the topic.  My top five favourite things:

  1. Reading with the company of two foot warmers (Ellie and Bob)
  2. Writing with the encouraging sounds of musical snores from Bob and Ellie
  3. Walking on a beach regardless of the weather. We have even done this as a family on Christmas day or St. Stephens day mainly due to asthmatic son.
  4. An evening out with friends
  5. Receiving a review for a story or a book.

Pretty straightforward and simple, and the weird thing is I believe if I won a huge sum of money, they wouldn’t change.

So what is your top 5?

Have a great Halloween.

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Our favorite things, by Bob & Ellie

Some of this list will not be a surprise to many people.

Bob’s top 5 favourite things

  1. A soft cushion to lie on – important for aging creaking bones – even if I sometimes roll off it.mde
  2. A bone to crunch on – the crunching reminds our two legged friends that we are still here.
  3. Sunshine and kids, – Sunshine provides much needed heat and the kids provide much needed treats. (M has me on a diet again.)
  4. Dinner – I dream in food in particular, strawberries.wp-image-1108616780jpg.jpg
  5. A hug – who doesn’t like a hug?

Ellie’s top 5 favourite things,

1 . She doesn’t care what size or colour but specifies there should be plenty of tennis balls

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2   Play time –

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3. Working, particularly in wooded areas

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4.  Boat trips, they come in handy for collecting lost in the river tennis balls.

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5.  Bob!

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Where did I get the idea for my first childrens book?

  The Runaway Schoolhouse, or the idea for it, simply didn’t appear in a light bulb moment. It sort of crept up on me. I was working as a Children’s Athletics Development Officer for 20 hours a week. I was part of a team of three. I loved the three years that we travelled the highways and byways, (some of them in circles as I frequently got lost) to promote kids to get active. The three of us were and still are passionate about the advantages of taking exercise no matter your age. Anyway, the most frequently heard comment on a Monday morning from a class of kids, was, “I wish I didn’t have to come to school.” I heard it so often that I began to play with the idea of what would happen if they arrived but all was not as it should be.

Until one day I casually asked, “what would you do if the school was not here when you arrived!”

The look of disbelief, followed by pure joy at such a possibility,  was enough to convince me it was a mad idea, but mad enough for a book.

And so it began a three-year stint of writing, editing, sending out letters searching for an agent, publisher or any passing alien to show an interest in my whacky book.  And it is a little crazy.  Here is an excerpt:

CHAPTER 4

CLEARIE was learning to make the most of every moment. He liked sitting on the smooth sand but a tiny part of him envied those with fingers and toes because he longed to experience the tickling feeling of sand and water. Still, he reasoned, this is an adventure.

He didn’t like the conversation between the adults who remained outside discussing the “problem.” They considered taking him apart and carrying his bricks back onto the hillside or getting a giant crane to move him. Both methods sounded nasty to him.
He tried to ignore them by concentrating on the sound of fish jumping in the water and birds hopping about on the sand; but he found that their loud voices carrying on the wind, made it impossible.
You would think with all their education they would question WHY I moved.
He waited to see what would happen next.
To his amusement, Mrs Brown got on her knees beside his front door to peer at the gap beneath his floor. He wondered if she were silly enough to think he had grown feet! When she stood she realised her knees were sandy and complained loudly about the horrible, gritty feeling. Clearie wondered what gritty felt like.
At breaktime, he noted that the children, unlike the teachers, were barefoot on the beach, but they put their shoes and socks back on their feet when they went back to class.
Clever children, silly teachers, he thought.

 

True or False?

On our travels we have learnt to treasure those unexpected moments that could be seen as potentially disastrous or something else. We always choose something else.

Dubrovnik.

Our trip was a much planned guided walking trip of the islands. We began in Dubrovnik

On Sunday 24th September we were to walk to the museum situated at the Imperial fort on Srđ mountain. An arduous climb to the top but we were assured the views would make it worthwhile. All went well until we were a mere 60 meters away from the top of the mountain. The rain arrived in lorry loads, drowning those of us who wore rain jackets. We sought refuge in the museum and then the restaurant at the top of the mountain.

I was a little relieved to hear, “the van is coming to get us and we can continue in the old town.”

“Great” everyone of us eight minions replied.

However, when we were dropped close to the entrance of the old town, the rain didn’t lessen ……it intensified.

We ran from the van to the nearest largest shop… an ice cream shop. The owner was calling people in from the rain and then apologised that he would have to close the concertina glass doors. So here we stood, five deep, eating ice cream watching the rising rainwater creep towards the door of our shelter. Some, led by Pirrka, danced happily to the music provided.

I had my back to an inner kitchen door. The owner brushed past me apologising, again, for the rain, and then hastily pushed one employee who was dressed from head to toe in professional rain wear outside. Next came a large panel of timber. To much cheering the poor young guy stood before the entrance holding the timber at an angle to divert the racing river from the doorway. IMG_7849

With a toss of his head and a sigh, the owner vanished into the back room again. There was  the sound of a loud discussion followed by the entrance of another young and very fit looking employee (as noted by every woman) carrying yet another board. However, this guy was dressed in jocks, teeshirt and socks!

After the initial shock the watching crowd of minions cheered as one as he bravely  pushed his way out into the now seven inch high river of water walking out of sight away from the shop, carrying his board. All the while his fellow employee stood outside diverting the tide from the door.

One ice cream later and the door opened. Scantily dressed employee re entered grabbed another board and vanished. On his third journey outside, a debate broke out amongst the watchers.

“Where the heck is he going? And what is happening to the boards?”

This one thought echoed around the spectators. A lone Irish voice beside me declared,

“There can only be one sane answer. He is running a surfing school and the eejits he is teaching are coming off the boards so he has to keep restocking the equipment!”

I mean what other explanation could there be? Thoughts as usual will be welcomed and answered.

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Hanging about in Ireland.

Summer is strange, but often life is stranger.

We tend to walk a lot, (well Ellie and myself – Bob avoids it at all costs.) And during the past few months we came across these items during our travels.

A parish walk confirmed we are indeed in Ireland.

 

Greenhouses are not only for plants!

An iconic item

Bubbles but not of the chocolate kind, unfortunately

The long and the short of it.

A very short story featuring Bob and his friend Maxwell

It was looking like snow. This was a special event in Ireland.

Bob was sitting staring out the kitchen window. He suspected it might snow but more importantly the oven was humming along with the cook who was rolling out biscuits.

“Hmm, biscuits,” Bob thought and set off to tell Max who lived a short distance away.

Cold, wet weather never bothered him because his thick coat kept everything from touching his skin. The extra bonus was fleas usually died before they fought their way through his coat.

Bob arrived at Max’s door. “Where is Ellie?” Max was peering over Bob’s shoulder.

“Didn’t bring her she is on cookie guard duty.”

Max didn’t linger. His short legs worked hard to keep up with his taller stocky friend.

“What happens if we get lost in this snow,” Max asked Bob as he pushed his way through the deepening snow.

“Trust me,” said Bob, “we won’t.”

However when they passed a tree they had marked some minutes earlier they sought shelter and had a meeting. “We are lost, aren’t we?” Max nudged Bob as he spoke.

“Maybe we should have a nap?” Bob suggested.

Max objected to this and they continued on for a while until they arrived back at the tree once more. “We are lost.” Bob said.

“What can we do?”

Bob sighed. “I was hoping it wouldn’t come to this? How is your singing voice?”

“Superb” Max boasted.

So together they began to sing, their favourite, – who let the dogs out.

Within minutes they heard a familiar bark and Ellie trotted up to them.

She looked at both dogs covered in layers of snow and simply said, “hurry up the biscuits are cool, well not as cool as you guys” and she led them home.

Much later, Bob and Max sat beside the fire munching on lavender dog biscuits.

“Do you know Bob it was worth the trip. But perhaps we shouldn’t go out in it again. What do you think Ellie?”

“Please don’t, your singing almost knocked the tiles off the roof.” She mumbled as she rolled over for a snooze.

They simply joined her in their favourite competition; snoring.

(Future trouble lay in the fact that Bob was dreaming of digging a tunnel to Max’s house.)

Maria’s Kindle Deal

Starting today and running for seven days Moving On is on Kindle deal on Amazon.com 3DBook-Promo-Mockup

The first two chapters are available on Bob’s site to read. The links are: Chapter 1

And Chapter 2

For readers, writers or those who prefer Author.

Writing tips from author and pop culture writer Jennifer Keishin Armstrong.

via Advice from Bestselling Author Jennifer Keishin Armstrong — Discover

Odd things you see on Irish Country Roads.

The world might be full of technology but for some people having a conversation and socialising are more important.

This thought stuck with me when I was taking the road to my dad’s house and all traffic was brought to a stop… by a family who were locked out of their farmyard home.

Oddly most of the car drivers (women) were very busy taking pictures, along with oohing and ahhing to worry about the safety of the family of hens. I smiled and tried not to give them a lecture about helping or #RAOK, as I set about returning hen family to their house.

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I began to search for their owner. My first house call was  not appreciated as I woke the home owner judging by his sleepy appearance and his pj’s and slippers. Eventually the lady who owned the hens were found and peace was restored along with traffic flow, as chicks and hens were let in to their yard (through the blue door).

Since then I have noticed most people drive with care on this particular section of road.