The Soul's Retreat

Author Archive

The Player

by on Oct.28, 2017, under The Player

I used to be a member of a group of authors in Lancashire, who organise an annual competition on behalf of Hayward’s Heath Movie Makers.  The challenge is to write a story suitable to be made into a short film.  There must be no exotic locations, and the film must be no more than six minutes long. A different theme is set each year.

Two years ago, I entered the contest, with a story called ‘The Player’, and was lucky enough to win; the prize being to have my story screened.  How exciting!

I had a whole year to wait, to see the finished product, but David Fenn, the organiser of the contest, kept me up to date by email, of every stage of production.  He informed me that for my story, they were going to try animation for the very first time!

The year passed, and the time came around for the presentation day, but sadly, David Fenn couldn’t make it up to Lytham, in Lancashire, as arranged. Determined that I should enjoy my special day, Olive Riley (the group’s Competitions Secretary) got in touch with Southport Movie Makers to ask if they could step in to show the film.  They did, along with one or two from their own archives, and we all had a really enjoyable afternoon.

The awards day was held at the Lytham Assembly Hall, and was attended by the Lord Mayor. I was presented with a big bouquet of flowers, and it was quite a grand affair.

I am a great believer that everything happens for a reason, and the events leading up to that day, with Haywards Heath club not being able to attend, and the local film club stepping in, ended up playing a big part in my writing taking a new turn, as in September of that year, I joined Southport Movie Makers.

I now write screenplays, have directed two amateur (short) films, been in the production team for other films, and have even recently acted in one  – which was great fun, but not something I ever expected to do, haha!  Life can be such fun if you just go with the flow, and enjoy all the new things that come your way.

As for ‘The Player’.  Haywards Heath did really well with it, especially considering it was their very first attempt at animation.  There are things we all have a chuckle about, such as the weightlifting and levitation scenes (watch the film, you won’t miss them) which were not portrayed quite that way in the original story, but had to be done that way on film, because of limitations with new software, and unfamiliarity with it. The film is actually quite surreal and accidentally quirky.  The whole process has been a great learning curve for all of us!

So, it’s all good!  Although I was a little taken aback the first time I saw it, I’m really pleased with it, and it has opened so many new doors for me, including doing public talks about it, being asked to write an article for the Chorley Guardian, even showing it at an open mic night at a pub!  I have made so many new friends because of it; it will always hold a special place in my heart.

A big thank you to Olive Riley, for making sure I had my  special day, and also to David Fenn at Haywards Heath Movie Makers, for keeping me in the loop throughout the whole process.  Not forgetting of course, the guys from Southport Movie Makers for stepping in at the last minute.



To visit Southport Movie Makers, click here

To visit Haywards Heath Movie Makers, click here

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L.A.A. Song

by on Oct.27, 2017, under Film and Music, LAA Song

L.A.A. Song

I used to be a member of a Lancashire writing group, and until recently, was assistant competitions secretary (I had to step down due to family commitments).

A couple of years ago, the group found itself without a treasurer and a secretary, and for a short time, other members of the committee had to temporarily stand in, until people came forward to fill these positions.  A letter was sent out to all members, stating the urgency of the situation, and asking for people to help by applying for the positions if they were willing and able to do so.

The letter went on to say that it would be a terrible shame to lose the group after it being in existence for over a hundred years, purely for lack of members being able to come forward to help with organisation.

The call for help was eventually answered by two members, and things quickly returned to normality.  The issue, thankfully, was resolved!

The letter however, sent shockwaves throughout the membership.  “No writing group?” ” What do you mean, it could fold?  This can not be allowed to happen!  What on earth is going on?”

I have to admit that my own reaction was one of shock!  So much so, that within an hour or two of receiving that letter, I wrote a song about it, intending to play it at the very next meeting, as a tongue in cheek call to arms, to stir up the membership, and hopefully help in the recruitment process in a light-hearted way.

I contacted a talented friend of ours, Craig Madox, and asked if he would either sing it for me live, or make a recording that could be used.  He went the extra mile for me, and tweaked  and improved the melody too.  I think he did a fantastic job!

Thanks Craig – you are a star!

Here it is:  (Press the play button)



It was near on dinnertime, when the postman, all sublime,

dropped the great big bombshell through my door.

As I opened up the post, I don’t know who yelped the most,

Me or the dog, who was lay there on the floor.


The letter set a task as the baleful question asked

Who will don the cape and the blue tights?

Come on, who’s good with money, or taking notes, hey it’s not funny,

this bit of Lanky’s turning out it’s lights!


Because your LAA is folding, there’s no-one to do the jobs,

no treasurer, and no secretary.

If no-one now steps forward quick to join our superheroes,

a hundred years of writing will be history!


So a gathering has been called, all the members are being hauled

to a meeting of the type extraordinary,

where the question will be asked, come on, who’s up for this task?

Who will take a bite of the cherry?


The committee work so hard, being the LAA’s home guard,

and have kept us all afloat throughout the years.

They’ve been through thick and thin, to fail now would be a sin,

They need our help, before it ends in tears.


Will there be another verse, or much, much worse,

will no- one step up to save the day?

Please don’t let it end here, because that’s our biggest fear,

A world without our precious LAA!

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Vegan Cupcakes

by on Oct.26, 2017, under Vegan Delights (Recipes)




Dry Ingredients

1 and 1/4 Cups flour

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder for chocolate cakes, OR same

amount of dessicated coconut for any other flavours.

1 slightly rounded teaspoon of baking powder

Pinch of salt


Wet ingredients

1 cup of water

1 teaspoon essence (your choice)

1/3. Cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vinegar.

Preheat oven to 350 f / 180 c/ gas mark 4

Put all dry ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix well.

Put all the wet ingredients into a jug, mix well.

Pour wet ingredients onto the dry ingredients and mix well with a spatula.

Divide into 12 cupcake cases placed in a bun-tin (sometimes makes 1 or 2 more), or an 8 inch square cake tin.

Place into oven for 30 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.

Take out of cake tins and place onto a cooling rack straight away.

Allow the cakes completely cool.


For toppings:

Put icing sugar (powdered sugar) Into a bowl, and add water, half a teaspoonful at a time, and just a few drops of essence, (or fresh fruit juice instead of water) mixing until it becomes a firm but spreadable paste. (Takes very little water).

Spread onto cakes and decorate however you wish.

Alternatively, spread melted chocolate onto them and leave to cool.

While making these you are only to think of good things ?

It all looks a lot written down, but honestly, these are the easiest cakes I have ever made! I have never had a bad batch yet, and the sponge is really good!

Happy Baking! ?

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by on Aug.16, 2010, under Meditations, Spirituality

 A few of my favourite guided meditations…

 Golden Light Healing Meditation

This is a healing meditation exercise which I was taught a few years ago by one of my Healing Teachers, Albert.
You don’t need to be ‘ill’ to try this – it is amazingly refreshing and uplifting.
I hope you’ll give it a try!


Sit or lie down comfortably.

Ask, either out loud, or from within, for protection from all negative energies.

Allow your breathing to settle into an easy rhythmic flow.

Imagine/visualise your whole body is filled with dark, grey, cloudy water. This water represents all your problems, stresses, worries, health concerns, pain etc.

Now imagine/visualise a beautiful golden energy, a light source sent from the angels through the universe. This light and energy surrounds you, so that you are cloaked and comforted by its presence.

You begin to absorb this energy, through the top of your head, allowing it to flow through your whole being.

Feel the energy flowing through you, from top to toe. Be aware as it trickles through to your shoulders down to your fingertips… down your spine, through each part of your body and into your legs and feet.

As the golden light enters through the top of your head, the dark liquid holding all your pain, worries and fears is forced out through your feet and the light and energy begin to force out the negativity from within you.

Feel this happening. Visualise/imagine the goodness pouring into you, and the badness draining away. Sense the powerful healing energies filling your entire being with this amazing golden glow.

Allow this process to continue, taking whatever time you need, until every drop has been replaced with the angelic energy.

Every single drop of negativity has now been flushed through you and away from you, and has been replaced with this wonderful golden glow.

Mentally seal in this energy, both at your head, and your feet, allowing for it to ‘breathe’ but not to spill out.

Now you are transformed. You glow from within with beautiful healing, peaceful, loving energy.

You have accepted the gifts of love, healing, peace and tranquillity.

Give thanks for these wonderful gifts.

You are receiving Healing

You are Beautiful

You are Loved

You are Calm

You Are






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Balloony Art

by on Aug.14, 2010, under Art, Balloony Art

One of my hobbies (used to be my job) is twisting balloons into weird and wonderful creations.  I used to have an application on Facebook called ‘Balloony Gifts’ where I twisted balloons and then photographed them, sometimes fitting them into pictures or just making pictures of them by themselves. Facebook no longer hosts those kinds of apps, so sadly, all the hard work that we developers put into them was wiped out when the format changed.

I thought it would be fun to put some of them here, rather than just consign them to the archives.  Hope you enjoy them 🙂 xx


Anyone for Breakfast?


Is it a myth, or does the latex fish really exist?

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by on Aug.09, 2010, under General, Poetry










Here is a portal sent through time
From the future or our past?
Time is a loop,
An eternal ring,
Never ending –
Yet cannot last.

From somewhere beyond,
We may know someday,
Or conversely, never see.
Our limited brain comprehends
Not yet,
What our past
And our future
Have been.

The stones hold the secret
To immortal life,
We have only to find the key.
One day we found the answer
To the puzzle that’s yet to be.

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by on Aug.09, 2010, under General, Poetry

The warmth and comfort of my small world
Seem far and distanced and out of reach
My complacent mind was shaken awake
As that narrow tunnel I began to breach.

As colours swirled and sounds merged in,
I heard the ‘midwives’ voices say
Now here’s the head, we’re almost there,
One final push – she’s on her way.

The thunder of storms turned to gentle waves
That lapped upon a heavenly beach
My emergence into this new world
Made all I knew feel out of reach.

The light was blinding to my sightless eyes
Luminosity came from deep within.
My death-mother waited with arms outstretched
To welcome me as the world did spin.

As wisdom and knowledge filled my mind
I realised this was no strange dream.
The tunnel of death, as the tunnel of life,
Brings new beginnings as the new-born screams.

Goodbye my friends on the other side.
I remember, but thoughts are fading fast.
We travel all-knowing through birth and death.
An eternal cycle – our destiny’s cast.

~ ~ ~

This is what I imagine happens when we die – we go back to where we came from. Everything goes in a circle, so why should we be any different?
When a baby is being born, we can imagine it as seeing light at the end of a tunnel, as it travels down the birth canal.
People who have had near death experiences often say they have seen a tunnel with a bright light at the end of it.
It makes sense to me that both processes are similar!
Written June 26th, 2005

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by on Aug.09, 2010, under General, Poetry

I came here from Salford
Where the only thing ‘soft’ is the water.
(Oh how I miss that sweet water)

The Salford I knew and loved
Was fast disappearing
Under masses of ugly concrete facades,
And incomers –
The druggies, ex-cons,
And the mothers who couldn’t care less
About anything else
But where the next fag, and can of beer
Was coming from.
All their kids dressed in the finest of
Designer label gear,
All purchased of course from
The ‘Back of the Lorry’ store.

Law abiding citizens were now outnumbered,
And the immaculate but poor houses
With their proudly kept gardens,
And ‘white-stoned’ door-steps
Were quickly being replaced with sad, neglected windows
Framed with nicotine stained curtains,
And paint-flaked doors,
Their gardens awash with modern art forms
Of twisted scrap metal and black bin-bags.

They can’t blame poverty.
Oh no…
We knew poverty, all of us, together.
The only time children had new clothes
Was ‘Whit Week’,
When all the neighbours expected a visit
From the local kids in their new finery,
And they would tip them a penny or two
For the pleasure it gave them.
Every neighbour was an ‘Aunty’ or ‘Uncle’,
There was respect, and caring, and love.

How quickly things change..
How I achingly feel the nostalgia.
Talking of the good old days
Like my Gran used to do.
We would smile, and raise our eyes to the ceiling
But loved every moment of her reminiscences.
‘Tell us about the old days Gran’
And we’d gather round to listen.

Now I am Gran!
Now I reminisce and mourn old times,
And fear for my future generations.
We moved to a new place,
To the seaside,
To give everyone a better life,
But we find no greener grass here,
Only the same old pastures.
A few years behind, but quickly matching pace
With the sad renaissance of Salford.

And how I miss that sweet water!

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by on Aug.09, 2010, under Children's, Poetry

Hush… Sshhh!
They’re here.
Don’t breath,
Don’t even move.

Watch, there!
As they flutter
With the breeze,
Into the room.

Be still, wait!
You’ll see
Their small
Transparent forms.

Amazed, you’ll see
Such beauty
As the room

Quiet now,
As they hover,
The flowers.

As they chant,
Their powers.

Ahh they’re gone!
They left,
As swiftly
As they came.

Quick now!
For we
Must do the same.

They mustn’t
Ever know
We found
Their place,

For in their eyes,
We may, somehow,  
Have brought

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by on Aug.09, 2010, under General, Poetry

As the sun peeps through the heavens,
We unfold our petals bright,
Stretching in the early morning,
Reaching out to taste the light.

Dewdrops rest on tiny petals,
Heaven sent, our thirst to slake.
Purest water, welcome sunshine,
Nourished now, we’re wide-awake!

Trembling in the breeze, you’ll see us
As we smile to cheer your day,
Nestled in amidst the grass,
Perfectly formed in every way.

Then as the sun begins to fade,
And moon and stars light up the sky,
We fold our petals tightly round,
To bid another day goodbye.

All through the moonlit nights we sleep,
Tight curled and folded ‘til the morn.
Waiting for the suns first kiss,
To start another day, reborn!

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