Auntie Doris’s Book Club #10: “Mother Mining” by Janice Wilberg

mother miningAuntie Doris’s Book Club #10: “Mother Mining” by Jan Wilberg

You only have to read one or two of Jan Wilberg’s blog entries on the internet to realise that she is a ruddy good writer and a wise and interesting person to boot. She has her head screwed on the right way does Jan. She is a woman who understands what being a woman is all about. In this book of hers, “Mother Mining” she writes about motherhood from all different angles. And she knows a fair few angles; daughter, mother, adoptive mother, new mother, old mother, grandmother, the ruddy lot. And she thinks about other mothers too; her own mother, the mothers of the lads that she has adopted, her lad’s mother in law, she even thinks about the mothers of people in prison and stuff.

And the book is all short essays and reflections, so its very easy to read. But its very thoughtful an’all. You get a real sense of how Jan thinks about being a woman and motherhood, and you get to share her sense too. And she is a sensible lass; full of common sense, like mothers should be.

Me, I never was a mother, and don’t listen to anyone who tries to tell you different. Of course, I’ve always been good with kiddies. My little sister April May was 21 years younger than me, and I looked after her as if she was my own. And her kiddies too, my nephew Michael and my niece Pamela, I always kept an eye out for them and made sure that I got them something nice to read at Christmas. The gift of good reading is a real gift in my book. How would I be able to read stuff like what Jan writes without it? How can we learn anything if we can’t read? And don’t say the ruddy television because that’s all celebrities and nonsense these days, the sort of stuff that is completely absent from Jan’s book, and its much the better for it.

Its a shame that you can’t get this book on the amazon Kindles, but you can easily get hold of a paperback copy of it. Mine only took a couple of days to arrive, and I’m on the other side!

Get the ruddy thing ordered now. And while you are waiting for it to come you can have a read of her blog, which has loads of interesting articles in it, not just about mothers, but fathers an all, (I wonder if she might to a follow up called Father Farming? As long as she doesn’t do one about ruddy baby farming eh?) and all sorts of little homilies and tales about all aspects of life. Apparently, she has had her stuff printed in the New York Times and other posh places a s well. I Will have to pass on the address of the Peoples Friend to her, I’m sure that they would love her stuff, in the magazine and the Fireside Companion.

Jan’s Blog is called Red’s Wrap

Auntie Doris’s Book Club #7: The Great British Poets – Vol XVII: Mike O’Brien

advertMy nephew Michael had his 53rd birthday this week. Bless him. It only seems like half a century since he was a little lad sitting on my knee, and listening to what I had to say without any back chat or cheek. How ruddy times have changed. Any road, he celebrated his birthday by achieving two personal ambitions. First off, he got to meet one of his heroes, John Otway, “Rock and Roll’s Greatest Failure” and support him with his ruddy silly pop group, Pocketful O’Nowt. and second off, he published a book of his ruddy silly poems. Having said that, I know he is ruddy silly, but I am a bit proud of him an’all.

This book is a bit slim, but it does contain twenty of his poems, and an introduction by Professor Iain Duncan Norville, Chair of English Literature at the University of Wath upon Dearne. Some of the poems are old songs that he doesn’t do in his pop group any more. there is one where our michael dreams that he is David Bowie. (He always has his head in the clouds, dreaming he is ruddy famous, rather than getting any proper work done.) Here is a bit of  another one about Steve Peregrin Took, who used to play the bongos with Marc Bolan.

Steve Peregrin Took
Had a charming English hippie look
That English hippie lasses found appealing
When he travelled up and down the land
As the bongo man in Bolan’s band
He pulled more birds than Bolan did
And Bolan hit the ceiling

There are other poems which are just plain rude. One about a tramp who is a bit too excited in the trouser department, and one which describes the lovely east Riding of Yorkshire as smelling of something that has just fallen out of a cow’s arse.  Personally, I don’t hold with swearing, its not ruddy big, and its not ruddy clever.

So its a shame that Michael feels he has to resort to it. Because some of his poems are quite clever. like the one about the hog roast, where the hog has the last laugh, and the one about the smiling Victorians. My grandmother would have liked that one. My father would have agreed with this bit..

They say that a smile is like an ankle
or even a calf
That only someone close
Should be allowed to gaze upon it 
Not a thing to be photographed
And exposed to the stares of all and sundry

There’s a good one at the end too, “Anyone can Do It” which is clever, because it lets the secret out of the bag that its fairly easy to get yourself published… Here’s a bit of that one.

So the next time someone shows you
Their latest book you should
Resist the urge to be impressed
Unless its any good
Anyone can do it nowadays

I reckon that this poetry book of our Michael’s just about scrapes in as being “any good” You will probably laugh a bit as you are reading through the poems, and maybe you will remember the gist of one or two of them an’all.

You can buy it on Amazon. Our Michael has already bought thirty and is wondering what to do with the royalties. It is lavishly illustrated with old black and white drawings that he has pinched off the internet. It is also available as one of them Kindles books, but there are no pictures in that one, because he couldn’t work out how to upload them all without spoiling them, and besides, it would have made it more expensive for people to upload, or download, or whatever ruddy load it is when you buy one.

He tells me that if anybody does actually buy one because of reading this review, he will get me a bottle of Harvey’s Bristol Cream, but if he sells enough he will get me a Harvey’s Amontillado. I’m not sure I fancy Amontillado though, so don’t feel ruddy obliged to go mad. Your relatives would probably prefer it if you knited them something for Christmas.