The Write Surprise

Good or bad, love ’em or hate ’em, we never know when a surprise is about to burst into our day, catching us completely off-guard.  Like the surprise I received on Tuesday morning.

For some time now, I have made a concerted effort to get dressed, have breakfast, and do a few chores before heading into the Summerhouse and start writing.

But it is so very easy to break this discipline and too often, despite knowing better, I think, ‘Oh, I’ll just have a quick check of my blog’ and three hours later I’m still blogging, the morning is lost and I’m still in my PJs.

Always a lovely surprise to find daffodils blooming on the riverbank (c) Sherri Matthews 2015

Always a lovely surprise to find daffodils blooming on the riverbank.
(c) Sherri Matthews 2015

Tuesday was such a morning.

Hearing a knock at the front door and realising annoyingly that it was almost noon and I was still typing away,  I wasn’t too perturbed, thinking it was ‘just’ the postman delivering yet another package for my daughter, and he’s seen me in my PJs too many times to count, I’m ashamed to say.

Except this time, it wasn’t the postman.

It was David Laws, the nationally known Lib Dem MP (Liberal Democrat Minister of Parliament and Minister of State for Schools for those unfamiliar with British politics) standing on my doorstep, greeting me by name with a hearty smile and a vigorous hand shake.

I recognised him immediately and all I could do was to smile weakly and hope the hole in the floor would swallow me up, even as he told me he was making friendly house-to-house calls as part of his campaign for the upcoming General Election, and wondered if I had any particular concerns.

Coincidentally, he had attended January’s meeting of the monthly support group I attend, run by our local branch of the National Autistic Society for parents of grown Aspie children. I hadn’t been able to make that meeting and I was bursting to ask him about funding for improved services for those with Autism in Somerset, but I didn’t dare.

In fact, I would have loved to have invited him in for a cup of tea and a hot cross bun if I had been properly dressed.  A golden opportunity lost for me, but a huge relief for him, no doubt.  So he said goodbye and that was that.

The road to publication holds many surprises on that uphill climb... (c) Sherri Matthews

The road to publication holds many surprises on that uphill climb…
(c) Sherri Matthews

A few days before this, I had received a very different surprise. Some of you may remember the short memoir competition I entered, deadline 30th January (and the trials surrounding my laptop issues).  I got my entry in, just, and waited, nervously, for the results, expected April 1st.

But last Saturday, an email popped up announcing the Fish Publication Short Memoir Prize Results.  What?  Were they playing an early April Fool’s trick on us?

I clicked on the link, hands shaking, and immediately saw the winner, second and third places and the seven runners-up. My name wasn’t there.  I didn’t think it would be, but there’s always that slight glimmer of hope isn’t there?  There has to be.

Hardly daring to breathe, I trawled down the short list.  Still nothing.   My heart sank as I scrolled down, and then suddenly I saw it: my name.  I made the long list!

Okay, so I didn’t win a prize and I didn’t make the short list, but I made the first cut into 197 selected out of 780 entries and for that I was ecstatic.  At least it meant that my story had ‘something’ if not everything that the judge was looking for at the time.

The next day, still basking in my long list glow and after almost two years, I at last was able to visit my dad at the halfway house where he has lived for the past four months.

Although more frail than when I last saw him, and a little unsteady on his legs, as an 82-year-old, lifelong alcoholic with a penchant for robbing banks (or trying to), he isn’t in too bad a shape.

Me & My Dad (c) Sherri Matthews 2015

Me & My Dad
(c) Sherri Matthews 2015

In fact, he walks along the prom, as he calls it, by the sea every day and is one of those people who gets a suntan just from poking his head around the door.  And the twinkle in his eye sparkles still, particularly when he tells me he is being a ‘good boy’.

On the way home, a twinge of sadness plucked at my heart for the lost years and all that could have been, all that our family could have shared if only my dad had managed to beat his alcoholism, but I also felt a deep sense of gratitude for the chance to spend this time with him, with the promise and the hope of more days like this to come.

Then, wouldn’t you know it, I received another surprise a mere four days later, this one through the letter box and not so nice: apparently we had parked a few minutes over our alloted time at the car park of the restaurant where we had taken Dad, resulting in a parking ticket: £100 or £60 if paid within 2 weeks.

My dad is the one on parole, but I think I am the one who needs reforming:  I have a sudden urge to go back to that car park and litter it with sweet wrappers.  Let’s see what the council has to say about that…

A week of surprises then, and I thank you all so much for wishing me well for the Fish competition.   I do regret one thing, and that is that I didn’t pay for a critique as I would have relished the feedback, being a little green when it comes to entering literary competitions (shhhh, don’t tell anyone).

Ultimately, making the long list has given me hope for my writing, and an armful of hope is something we all need.

‘Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul –
and sings the tunes without the words – and never stops at all.’
~ Emily Dickinson

This beautiful 'Hope' flag arrived this week from my dear friend in California.   An American robin to say hello to his cousin Sweet Robin!   What perfect timing, bringing a reminder of the hope that springs out of the message of Easter. (c) Sherri Matthews 2015

This beautiful ‘Hope’ flag arrived this week from my dear friend in California, a wonderful surprise.
An American robin to say hello to his cousin Sweet Robin!
What perfect timing, hope through Easter’s message.
(c) Sherri Matthews 2015

And if there’s one thing I’ve learnt, it’s that we need to keep watch and be vigilant, ever ready for when those surprises jump out at us.  At the very least, we should be dressed. After all, you never know who might turn up on your front door step.

*******

I hope for you the best kind of surprises, and a very Happy Easter!
Love Sherri x

About Sherri Matthews

Sherri has been writing full time since 2011. Currently working on her memoir, 'Stranger in a White Dress', she has been published in a variety of national magazines, websites and three anthologies. Sherri raised her three, now adult children, in California for twenty years and today, lives in England’s West Country with her hubby, Aspie youngest, two cats, a grumpy bunny and a family of Chinese Button Quails. She keeps out of mischief blogging, gardening, walking by the sea and snapping endless photographs. Her garden robin muse vists regularly.
This entry was posted in My Dad's Alcoholic Prison, Writing Competitions and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

99 Responses to The Write Surprise

  1. Congratulations, Sherri, on making the long list, that’s encouraging indeed. The competition is tough in all writing contests–so you did very well.

    Blessings ~ Wendy ❀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Heyjude says:

    Well done you! Baby steps as they say 🙂
    And what a lovely photo of you and your dad, matching hair and specs too! And what a twinkle in his eyes, probably there from seeing you. Have a great Easter my friend let’s hope the sun shines for part of it at least!
    Jude xx

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    • Sherri says:

      Baby steps indeed Jude, thank you so much 🙂 I grabbed this chance for this photo since the last one of us was taken in 2006, last time Dad was ‘out’ for longer than a few weeks. You have a very Happy Easter too my friend, and yes, it looks a little more promising as the weekend goes on. Catch up with you soon 🙂 xx

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  3. Dina says:

    Well done, Sherri! What a lovely photo of the two of you. 🙂
    We wish you all a great Easter,
    Best regards from the Four of us,
    Dina, Klausbernd, Siri and Selma

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much Dina for your lovely message and Easter wishes! I send the very same to you and your lovely family from me and mine…a very Happy Easter to you all 🙂

      Like

  4. Rachel M says:

    Wow, that’s an expensive parking ticket. Great pic of you and your dad and congrats on making the first cut!

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    • Sherri says:

      Tell me about it…not a nice surprise that, not one bit. I was furious when I got that in the post. Well…what can I do? Thanks so much for the congrats Rachel, hope you and your lovely family have a wonderfully Happy Easter 🙂

      Like

  5. Pat says:

    Congratulations, Sherri, on many counts — your writing and just plain being alive to enjoy all the mysteries of this world. I’m happy for what you’re discovering and excited for your accomplishments. Well done, my friend. Hope you have a blessed Good Friday today and a Happy Easter. 🙂

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    • Sherri says:

      Ahh dear Pat, thank you so much my friend, what a wonderfully encouraging and inspiring message 🙂 ‘…just plain being alive to enjoy all the mysteries of this world…’ A beautiful sentiment and gift indeed. Sending you also blessings and joy for a very Happy Easter and look forward to catching up soon 🙂

      Like

  6. Congratulations on making the long list, Sherri. Woo hoo. That’s awesome.
    What a week of surprises. Lovely picture of you and your dad. You both look comfortable with each other. ❤ ❤
    Had you gone to the summerhouse per usual, you would have missed shaking hands and talking with the MP. Right? Or do you have a doorbell connected in your work area?
    The parking ticket wasn't a nice surprise. Sorry to hear about that surprise.

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    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much Tess! A mixed bag of surprises indeed 😮 Yes, if I had been in my summerhouse, I wouldn’t have heard the door go. That is one of the reasons I retreat there for my writing, to avoid those kind of interruptions. But that day, I sat on the couch and got carried away and well, you know the rest :/ Happy Easter to you my friend, hope it’s a beautiful one 🙂 ❤ ❤ ⭐

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  7. Zambian Lady says:

    Congratulations on making to the long list. I think the MP candidate saw worse attires than yours, so you should not have been embarassed 🙂

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  8. Ph-y says:

    Congrats Amiga! And thie isnspiring tone has made my day. Sorry about the ticket… That is way too much for a small parking infraction!! Maybe pays the alarm for the guy who knocked on your door…. ❤ 😊

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    • Sherri says:

      Haha…very good point, and I wouldn’t be suprised 😉 Thank you so much for your congrats, thrilled you found some inspiration here! Wishing you a very Happy Easter 🙂 ❤

      Like

  9. TanGental says:

    The is fan-bloody-tastic, Sherri. I’ve never made a shopping list so you are streets ahead. Cruising, I’d say. Just don’t peak too soon!
    Love you with your old man. He does look like he could get you into trouble – he has the sort of soft pliable, go on just another sort of face. And the family hair makes me very jealous. Maybe if I hadn’t become teetotal at 30?
    And parking tickets; ha! we have a two minute parking zone to drop off by West Dulwich Station. I’ve just been done for a 160 second over run. Love them!
    Happy Easter and have some chocolate on me.

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    • Sherri says:

      Haha…thanks so much Geoff! I’m so glad to share this news…but don’t worry, I don’t think there’s any danger of me peaking too soon 😉 Ahh, yes, thought you would like the pic. I had to grab the moment you know, it’s been 9 years since the last one as he’s been ‘inside’ for most of that time. Ha…yes, the secret of ‘that’ hair… and that look…
      Arghhh…so sorry to hear that about the parking ticket, what a pain. We thought we were inside the 90 minutes, but then this ‘indictement’ comes through the post with a photo of my car and everything. Geez…talk about feeling like a criminal.
      You have a very Happy Easter too my friend, and I’ll definitely do that…first Easter Egg I bite into I’ll think of you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Charli Mills says:

    Oh, Sherri, I’m so delighted for all your hopeful surprises! Well, except for the ridiculous parking ticket; perhaps you can write a flash fiction to exercise any frustration against council for that one. Maybe you can include a politician. I once had one stop by our door and I gave him an ear full. He continues to uphold the plight of home-owners as he serves his community. So maybe these politicians are sincere in reaching out? Maybe. Some are just cheesy.

    I’m so proud of you as a writer, keeping at it and taking calculated risks. It’s a vulnerable moment to submit writing to a contest. You did it, against technology’s difficulties, and you made it! A hearty congratulations! My feet are doing a happy dance for you! Long-listed out of a large body of competition — wow! That’s amazing!

    So happy for your reunion with your Dad. Yeah, I can see that glint in his eyes. 🙂 I didn’t get to know my mother’s parents until the last few years of their lives. Like you, I felt some regret in that, but it was a good time to share with them and even now it carries me through rough spots. We live in the moment and I hope there are more moments for you to get to know your Dad beyond what years were wasted by his alcoholism.

    Love your garden banner! My robins say hello to yours, too! Have a wonderful weekend! ❤

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Haha…I just love the way your writing mind works Charli! What a fabulous idea for a flash, I’m not going to forget that, you bet! Perhaps I could write Ken in as a council worker and Murial as a seedy MP 😉 Your earful seems to have done some good with that politician…I do think some have their hearts in the right places while others are just after the vote no matter what.
      Thank you again so very much for your wonderful congrats and encouragement for my writing and the competition results!! And yes, I’m still happy dancing with you too! I will keep pressing in and won’t give up. Riding into the dust cloud until out the other side 😀
      Thrilled to share this photo with you!
      Oh I am so glad you had that time with your grandparents, proving that it’s never too late to form those bonds and then have the legacy of those memories of that time spent together to see you through those difficult times in life. It certainly is wonderful to share these moments in the present, taking one day at a time…
      Ahh…yes, that garden banner is gorgeous isn’t it? I loved that about California, the way so many houses fly these banners for all the different seasons.
      And I adore your robins! I must visit Elmira Pond for the latest, I love your updates over there. Sweet Robin tweets his love to his American cousins 😀
      Wishing you and Todd a very Happy Easter my friend, and once again, thank you so much…you being proud of me brings a good tear to my eye 🙂 ❤ xo

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  11. What a wonderful post, Sherri! I relished every last bit of it. So happy for you that your dad is close enough for you to visit and that he’s being a “good boy.” 🙂 I’m sure the times you spend together are very precious for both of you. Well done on making the ‘long list’. That’s so heartening for you and your writing. You’d be on my short list for sure. When i read about you still being in your PJ’s when the Lib Dem MP came to call, I smiled. Isn’t it amazing how time just flies by when you’re blogging? I’ve often had to quickly shower and scurry into my clothes when I realise it’s almost time for hubby to come home for lunch. “What the eye doesn’t see……..” 😉 The daffodils are so lovely, but I’m sorry about that pesky parking attendant who caught you out. What a pain!
    Wishing you and your family a very happy Easter. 🙂 xx

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    • Sherri says:

      Oh Sylvia, thank you so much, and how very kind of you! I would love to be on your short list 🙂 And yes, let’s hope dear old Dad keeps things that way! Yes, it is so easy to get into blogging and the hours just fly by don’t they? And don’t worry, your secret is safe with me 😉 As for the parking ticket…well, don’t get me started!!!!
      Wishing you and your family the very same my friend, a very Happy Easter 🙂 xx

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Congratulations Sherri. Great that you posted your news.That is a super achievement and with that hope your memoir should be moving along at a rapid pace. Great photo of your Dad. He does have a twinkle in his eye. Bad luck about the parking ticket though. Have a great Easter. ❤

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    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much Irene for your wonderfully encouraging words 🙂 I am definitely spurred on by this boost, even though I am far from my Easter deadline to finish the first draft (I was far too over-ambitious) but it’s moving along 🙂 I hope you are getting on well with your writing too my friend, although I know you are busy with your brother and family’s visit at the moment, and having a wonderful and busy time 🙂 Yes…that darn parking ticket was quite the dampner. Oh well, onto better things and a very Happy Easter to you too 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Oh Sherri what an exciting week full of so many wonderful surprises (except for the parking ticket that is)! Congratulations on making the long list in your writing competition. I’m sure the judges saw your knack for telling a good story, which is one of things that I love so much about your blog! So glad you were able to spend some quality time with your dad and that you have that opportunity now later in life. AND… I completely feel for you Sherri when it comes to your ill-timed visitor at the door. That is always one of my fears when I stay in my pajamas on a lazy Sunday!

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    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much dear Heather, you always encourage me so much! I’m thrilled that you enjoy reading my stories, really makes me so happy that 🙂 Yes, it is wonderful to have this time with my dad, things can be very up and down with him so I take what I can get 😉 It’s so nice sometimes isn’t it to stay in our pj’s but there is always that ‘what if’ 😉 Wishing you and Matt a very Happy Easter my friend and I hope you have nothing but the nicest of surprises 🙂

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  14. You have had your share of surprises for sure. It is difficult to see my parents aging so I get what you mean about seeing your dad… On a more positive note I am glad you made the list for the memoir competition. My heart would have been racing opening up that paper too! Hugs and hope you have a nice Easter xo

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    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much Christy, you are so kind. A mixed bag of surprises, for sure, all part of life’s rich pattern 😉 Yes, it is very hard seeing our parents age isn’t it? My dad, even with his history and misadventures, always seemed so well and strong, by no small miracle, and this is the first time I’ve really noticed a difference. I’m very grateful for these visits while they are possible. Hugs back to you too and wishing you a very Happy Easter 🙂 xo

      Liked by 1 person

  15. cardamone5 says:

    You and I are friends for a reason: we both love lounging in our pajamas, undeterred by the possibility of meeting visitors that way. Good for you for answering at all. I probably would have hidden just out of sight, my heart thudding.

    Congrats on the longlist nod. That’s huge. Maybe you can follow up on the critique?

    I am glad you visited your dad. Having just returned from a trip to see my own father, I know the sadness of lost opportunities and gratitude for time spent together. There is a peace that comes from knowing that you are separate from that history. I love the photo.

    Love,
    E

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    • Sherri says:

      Haha…well, there you go! Next time, I will hide!!!!! Ahh…thanks so much dear Elizabeth, you are very kind. I am going to look into a critique, yes, and also will resubmit the story. I read that when you get long listed, it means that the piece ‘has legs’ and so I hope that those legs will carry the story further 😉 It’s nothing to do with my book, but I was so hoping to place somewhere since it was a memoir competition.
      Oh I am so glad you have just spent time with your dad too, and you surely do understand what these visits mean. And you are so right, it is only because of the complete peace I have in my relationship with my dad that I can write about it, and also he is completely happy with me doing so. He gave me that gift a few years ago and for that I am eternally grateful. And not at all ironic, as he was always such a wonderful story teller 🙂 I am so happy to know that you have that same peace with your own dad too 🙂 I’m thrilled to share the photo with you my friend and sending love and wishes to you and your lovely family have a very Happy Easter 🙂 xo

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  16. Luanne says:

    Sherri, I’m so glad you had some time with your father. There is always regret mixed in there, I think, no matter what–and you have as much cause as anyone. But CONGRATULATIONS on your well-deserved inclusion on the list!!! You should be sooooooo proud of yourself. Think of all you went through to get that piece in, too. It seemed for a while as if everything was conspiring against you getting it in on time!!! I’M SO THRILLED FOR YOU! I’ve had faith in you from the moment we met! xoxo

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    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much Luanne, wow, all this and your faith in me means so much 🙂 Yes, I really did feel that everything was conspiring against me, it was a nightmare of a time and I really struggled as you know. But it was all worth it, phew!!!! It’s given me a huge boost to get on that list, I admit! And thank you too about my dad, it is wonderful to be able to visit him but of course, I have to take what I can get. Thinking of you my friend and sending Easter blessings 🙂 xoxo

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  17. What a week Sherri! You know, it’s not unknown where I live to see people popping to the shop in their pyjamas….but some wonderful prizes too. I think it’s a great step to be on the longlist for the competition – we know you have the talent, but there’s luck involved too – stories that have come nowhere for me in some cases have gone on to win prizes or be shortlisted. I’ve been on the Fish longlist for a story, but then got nowhere in the most recent one – just keep plugging away. I do love to read about your relationship with your dad and all you’ve come through.

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    • Sherri says:

      Yes, it was a mixed bag of surprises, that’s for sure! And I might have answered my door in my pj’s, but I can honestly say, I’ve never gone shopping in them!!!! Thank you so much Andrea, I do really appreciate your encouragement and kind wishes. It’s so interesting what you say about these competitions and the lists. I tried to find out what I could about them, what they meant, and the significance of it all. You prove the most important thing, that is not to ever give up with a piece you believe in, no matter where it places. I did believe in this piece, and also in one I submitted to a magazine that I tried 4 times with but never got a response to. On the fourth time, it was accepted and then published right away. In that case though, I think the magazine was in state of flux with a change of editor. But it taught me a valuable lesson about persisting! I have had to get out of the mindset that ‘oh, it must be my writing isn’t any good’ to ‘I believe in what I’ve written and so I’ll keep pressing on’. I am sorry you didn’t place this time…it certainly isn’t because of any lack of talent Andrea, you are a most beautiful writer. I’m sure that the next time, you’ll get that prize! And thank you for what you say about my dad, it means a lot that. Happy Easter to you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Hi Sherri! You know how thrilled I am for you! We’re still dancing over here, in honor of your well deserved recognition. I’m so happy that you posted a picture of you and your father…I had wondered if you would. He looks great! The two of you look very happy…what a special day. I feel terrible that I haven’t responded to your last email…things have been a little wild, but I’ll be in touch soon. I hope you and your family have a blessed Easter, Sherri. xoxo

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    • Sherri says:

      Hi Jill!! Thank you so much, I love that you’re still dancing and I’m right there with you 😀 Ahh…well, you know, I had to grab the opportunity for this photo, as the last one was back in 2006! I have to make the most of these visits as you well know 😉 Thrilled to share it with you. Ahh…I completely understand my friend, no worries. I hope everything is okay though and I look forward to hearing from you as soon as you are able (but no pressure!) and we’ll catch up soon! Meanwhile, sending love and blessings to you and DFD for a very Happy and peaceful Easter ❤ xoxo

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  19. If only you could have arranged for your dad to be present when David Laws “dropped by” for a talk, your dad could have regaled him with bank robbery attempts 😉 while you scurried off to spruce up and/or get back to your writing.
    Congrats on making the first cut, Sherri! Fingers crossed on both hands for the next level!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Haha…oh Marylin, I am laughing out loud now at the very thought! You crack me up!!! I can just imagine it, what a hoot!!! Dad would have made one heck of a diversion, that’s for sure 😉 Thank you so much for your wonderfully kind congrats my friend…your encouragement all the way through means so much to me and I’ll be sure to keep going to that next level! Have a wonderful and Happy Easter ❤ xo

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  20. I think you are going to have to find PJ’s that are company ready. I’ve been thinking that myself. Something so comfy but looks like you could go anywhere in them. And I think it’s rude of the man to drop by unannounced. If you went to his work, you’d have to make an appointment, I’m sure.
    Congrats on placing with your memoir. It’s just the beginning to get you over your jitters. Next time you will do so much better. Someone else will read it and see something entirely different in there.
    I’m glad you were able to spend time with your father. Wishing you and yours a Happy Easter.

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    • Sherri says:

      Haha…I think you are right Marlene!! Perhaps I should turn up at my next support group meeting in those cosy yet practical pj’s 😉 Thank you so much for your kind, encouraging words about my memoir piece. It’s nothing to do with my book, just a short story (it had to be no more than 4,000 words) but it’s given me a real boost to keep pressing on with the first draft of my book (and needless to say, I am not going to get it done by Easter but I’m pressing in!). And yes, it was good to have time with my dad, I hope for more visits and take it day by day. Sending blessings and wishes to you and your family for a very Happy Easter 🙂 xo

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Congratulations on making the cut and your relationship with your Dad.
    It was shocking about the parking fine.. another case of revenue raising gone mad!
    I don’t need to worry about being in pj’s though – no-one comes to my door. 😄
    Happy Easter Sherri.
    Blessings, Susan 💖

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    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much Susan! Oh that’s lovely that you don’t have to worry about that…and that is precisely why I retreat into my summerhouse, to escape such interruptions! More fool me for that Tuesday 😉 And as for that parking fine…don’t get me started!!!!!!
      Sending blessings to you my friend for a very Happy Easter ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Sunni Morris says:

    Congrats on the long list. I’m not one to get dressed early either so you’re not alone. This irks my husband to no end. He thinks I should jump out of bed and throw my clothes on daily. That will probably never happen. I have to have coffee first. I’ve learned if I get on the computer, forget any schedule. I’ll still be in PJ’s at noon.

    Sunni

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    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much Sunni! And yes, I am with you on that, and my hubby is just the same as yours, he is an early bird and I am definitely not a morning peson. Wishing you a very Happy Easter 🙂

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  23. Sherri well done! I have no doubt that you will make the top of that list if you keep writing and entering competitions. I am working on a comp piece at the moment and I know I would not get that close to the winners. So a big pat on the back and I hope the surprises keep coming, but not the parking ticket variety.

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  24. Congratulations on making the long-list, Sherri. I know exactly how you felt in not seeing your name amongst the prize winners but, as far as I am concerned, you’re a winner just for entering the competition and having a go. Well done to you.

    I’ve too often just sat down for ten minutes with a cup of tea at the computer and, with a cup of cold tea still on the desk, realised that almost six hours have passed! I don’t have P’J’s so answering the door without getting dressed would give the caller a rather nasty shock. Can you imagine if the TV cameras had been following said M.P? Instant YouTube hit and not the version of me going viral that I am hoping for.

    Happy Easter.
    xx

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    • Sherri says:

      Ahh, thank you so much for your lovely, kind congrats Hugh!! I had a tough time getting that piece out what with problems with my laptop and other issues and I only just made the deadline. But it was all worth it just to get on that list, phew 😉
      And yes, I do exactly the same with my tea! Too many times to count! Haha…yes, you defnitely don’t want that kind of publicity! Thank goodness the cameras weren’t with David Laws on Tuesday morning. I would not have been a happy bunny, even if it is Easter 😉 I’ll catch up with as soon as I can my friend, and meanwhile, I wish you and yours a very Happy Easter 🙂 xx

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  25. simplyilka says:

    Hi Sherri!

    Congratulations on making the long list. Big achievement. I can understand that you are interested in feedback from the judges now. But I am sure there will be a next time 🙂
    I love the picture of you and your father. He seems to be a funny man.

    Working from home I can so relate to being in the PJs at noon. And what a surprise in front of your door. Thanks for sharing this! Priceless 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Hi Ilka and thank you so much! Yes, my dad has a wicked sense of humour that’s for sure 😉 Oh yes, working from home is a great temptation to stay in our pj’s as long as possible but always with the fear as to who might show up on our doorstep! Wishing you and your family a very Happy Easter 🙂

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  26. Sherri, I had a good laugh about your surprise visitor at the door. Sounds familiar! Congratulations on making the winning contest list…that is quite an accomplishment and definitely a green light to keep on writing!.
    Your Dad is still a handsome man. I can see that gleam in his eye that says “Have I got a story to tell you!”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Haha…glad I’m not the only one then! Thanks so much Bev, very kind of you and yes, it defiintely has given me a boost 🙂 And yes, that’s my dad, you have him nailed – he is a wonderful story teller. As kids, he never read to us but always told us the most wonderful stories, particularly when he took us for walks in the woods. We do a lot of reminiscing when we meet up as you can imagine! Happy Easter to you Bev, hope you have a lovely weekend 🙂

      Like

  27. restlessjo says:

    Oh, no, Sherri! I’m reading this in my PJs! 😦 I think that on Easter Sunday I might just be excused (and am pretty safe from visiting MPs 🙂 ) Just off to put the meat in the oven and take the washing out. You are positively my last visit till this afternoon. Honestly!
    Lovely to see you and Dad. Alcoholism is an illness, isn’t it, hon and I bet he has plenty of regrets too. Happy, happy Easter Sunday, Sherri. You fill us all with hope. 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      It’s so easy to do! PJs are so darn comfortable 😉 Thank you dear Jo, and yes, alcoholism is a dreadful illness that destroys so much. But there is always hope…and that is so sweet of you to say… 🙂 I hope you had a wonderful Easter and I’ll be joining in with your walk very shortly…always a late straggler and so happy you always have room for me 🙂

      Like

  28. How funny about the Lib Dem calling at your house when you were in your PJs! Typical, though, politicians propensity for bad timing. Our town has had a Lib Dem MP for the last 5years. He is very popular locally as he has a reputation for helping people, whatever their background – even ones who didn’t vote or him in the last election. The tories are pouring a lot of money into our constituency, hoping to “buy” it back from him.

    So glad you got to see your Dad. I think it’s best not to dwell on all those lost years in your relationship with him, but focus upon the time you have left together. My father refused any kind of reconciliation with me before he died. Darn alcohol and all the damage it inflicts.

    I’ve already congratulated you about the longlist, Sherri, but once more I will say “Clever Lady”! xxxx

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Yes, David Laws is the MP for our area and is also thought of very highly around here by many. I think it used to be Paddy Ashdown’s seat once upon a time. It’s interesting though, he is making house calls in person, yet it is Tory billboards we see everywhere. Sounds like the Tories are doing the same in your area as here…
      Oh Sarah, I’m so sorry about your dad. My dad has disappeared beneath the radar for long stretches in earlier years and of course when I lived in the States, I didn’t hear from him except when he was sober (meaning in prison) when he would write to me. During his last stint he called me weekly but since he’s been ‘out’ he contacts me sporadically, a card here and there. He holds me at arm’s length with visits, hence it being 2 years. I will wait and see what happens next…
      And again, thank you so much for your lovely congrats dear Sarah…means so much 🙂 xxxxx

      Liked by 1 person

      • I expect your Dad holds you at arm’s length because he feels guilty about how he negatively impacted upon your childhood. Either that, or he has always had a problem with close relationships with everybody, which might have driven him to the bottle in the first place. The trouble is, it’s very hard to get at the truth with alcoholics, as they often can’t remember what they’ve said from one minute to the next and are so used to lying to cover up or rationalise their drinking habits, that they no longer no the truth themselves.
        As for politicians … hah, hah! I can’t wait for a certain candidate to knock on my door, but as I like to keep my blog non-political, I’ll tell you more, Sherri, in an email about the speech I’ve got prepared!

        Like

      • Sherri says:

        Yes, I agree Sarah. My dad is a loner, always has been, even though I know he loved family life when we were little. I’ve spent my life trying to understand the dynamics that drove him to drink in the first place. As for the truth, there is no doubt that has become very blurred as the years have gone by. I can’t wait to read your MP speech. I wish I had been prepared, I would have said so much more 😉

        Like

  29. Oh my gosh, I’m cracking up! 😀 I love this post so much. First, congratulations on your writing contest! Ooh…What next? Should I tackle the topic of pajamas and how I wear them most of the time because I get distracted with my writing? I realize it’s noon and I haven’t eaten breakfast. If someone knocked on my door, I would turn and run behind the sofa and keep saying “No one’s home!” because that would be less embarrassing. O_o So happy you saw your dad (though sorry about the ticket). I would totally go back and throw peppers and meatballs in the street. The thought of you sitting on that wall throwing sweets into the street is conjuring such a fabulous image!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Haha 😀 That’s just it Sarah, it’s not just the PJs but the fact that we don’t eat or drink or anything and it’s only that I’m bursting to use the loo that I finally break free…unless of course someone comes to the door! Honestly, if I hadn’t thought it was the postman, I would have ignored it, but I was caught on the hop, literally 😉 Next time I’ll do what you do!! I’m smiling that you are cracking up…love it! And thanks so much about my dad…but yes, let’s do it…peppers and meatballs, sweet wrappers, you name it. I’m still incensed about that darn parking ticket and have to pay this week 😦 I wonder if I tried to plead mercy for the fact that I was visiting my dad, who is on parole, and lost track of time? Nah…somehow I don’t think the council would buy it, do you?

      Like

  30. jennypellett says:

    Well done for making the long list – this is another milestone along the long road to writing – I’m really pleased for you. Hope you’re having a wonderful Easter weekend xxx

    Like

  31. Denise says:

    That’s a lovely picture of you with your dad. He does look good on his eighty-two years, and that’s without even taking into account the alcoholism etc. But then, maybe that’s a lot to do with the expression on his face – he’s clearly chuffed to be with you. Did you guys choose the same glasses deliberately?? Or is that just the mysterious family connection?
    I think it’s amazing that you made the long list. I have never made a long list! I have, however, started hanging out with artists now I live three doors down from a gallery and even (or is that especially?) the ones who are starting to be successful now say there’s no substitute for chip chip chipping away at your art, whatever it is, just keeping going even when it seems that there is no recognition… l think your success is a marvellous example of that.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      My dad has more lives than a cat I think, he has escaped so many times (from death’s door I mean, not prison!). He has a very strong constitution that’s for sure. I hope I’ve inherited the same! I did think he looked thinner in the face than I’ve ever seen him, but then as you say, photos capture different angles don’t they? Haha…yes, I didn’t even notice the glasses until I looked at the photo…must be genetic, although I normally take miine off for photos 😉
      Thank you so much Denise, so very kind of you. I was just so happy to make the first cut! I love that gallery and remember walking past it when I was house sitting last year. Oh if only you had been living there then!!! How wonderful that you have met new artist friends and what excellent advice they do indeed give…greatly encouraging for us as writers, absolutely. We are in it for the long slog and we definitely need to keep at it and not lose hope 🙂
      PS I replied to your email from my new email address and sent you one before that, but not sure if you got them? Let me know if not, I’ll re-send them. Here is mine in case: shezzer59@gmail.com

      Like

  32. Bravo! Bravo! Cherish those successes, as I am learning to. Love the father you have and don’t spend time regretting the one you didn’t. He seems like a great character with a lot of stories to tell his writing daughter. *wink* And if you are making the long list, you are baby steps away from taking first prize. It is right there, Sherri.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so very much Renee for all you say, I take it all on board and I will indeed cherish this baby step 🙂 I came to a place of peace and acceptance about my dad a long time ago and he gave me his blessing to write his story, so the best gift he could have given me. And you are right, he is indeed quite a character, as my mum says about him, always could charm the birds out of the trees! He never read to me as a child, but always told the most wonderful stories which lit my imagination on fire 😉
      Your encouragement and support mean a great deal to me, so again, I thank you from my heart 🙂

      Like

  33. Happy Easter, Sherri! So glad you were able to spend time with your Dad. And yes surprises do manage to throw of “off” a bit from time to time but you handle them just fine. Congratulations on making the “list.” It is accomplishment in the smallest steps that encourage us to stay the race…
    Peace to you!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much dear Lilka, and a very Happy Easter to you too! I hope you had a lovely time with your family and maybe still on spring break? Peace and blessings to you too, I hope you have a great week ahead 🙂

      Like

  34. Amy says:

    Congrats, Sherri! I’m sorry to let you know that your recent posts have not coming to my reader….

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Congratulations on making it to the Long List my friend. To me you are a winner. Just to be able to pursue your dream and make it happen makes you already a winner. Thanks for a beautiful post that breathes and gives hope. In so many aspects of my life, hope help me make it through. God bless and regards to your family.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      What a beautiful message, so encouraging and heartwarming, thank you so much my friend, this means a great deal to me. We must always have hope…and you know that only too well. God bless you and your family too, today and always.

      Like

  36. Such a heartwarming post, Sherri. I’m glad that you’re able now to spend some cherished moments with your dad. And Congrats on making that long list. That’s an accomplishment to be proud of.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Marie Keates says:

    Work has stopped me getting caught in my pj’s but it used to be a regular occurrence. I’m glad there is some hope with the writing. I’m a little too sceptical about mine to even enter competitions.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Ste J says:

    You may want to check the legality of parking tickets, there was a big thing on it on Watchdog a while back, so it may be worth a look. I had to laugh at your PJ experience, were the paparazzi there? You could be the new sensation and get yourself a contract modelling PJ’s. Wait for that surprise call hehe.

    It is great to see your successes and even your less positive surprises are actually material for your blog so really they are good things. Well done on the story by the way!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Yes, I vaguely remember something about that now that you mention it. I’m still so cross about it, what a rip off..
      Haha…I’ll be sure to check the local Western Gazette to see if I made the front page in my new PJ modellling pose…can you imagine? This could be my big break after all, my true vocation in life!!!
      Ahh…thank you very much Ste, I really appreciate that, and yes, nothing like some daytime drama to make for a blog post is there?

      Like

  39. Norah says:

    What a lovely lot of surprises, well mostly lovely, Sherri. I’m pleased you were “awake” to see them. What a pity you didn’t get to talk to the minister and ask him your questions. I’m sure you wouldn’t have given him a story or two to tell! 🙂

    Like

  40. reocochran says:

    I fell horribly behind in my reading and then, when I arrived today, did not see the word, “Following” at the top of your post. Well, here I go again, pushing “Follow.” I apologize but this will at least ‘explain’ why I had not seen you in my Reader, along with why I had accidentally not looked you up. I thought like others sometimes do, you were on a break!
    I wished to let you know, you probably made the diplomat/politician’s day, since you did open the door, Sherri! I am glad he is valuing the groups of people like yours, for those who have family members with Autism, which means he values ‘the little people,’ too. I also wanted to let you know, here in the U.S. we are having Pieces of Hope cookies sold at Panera Bread restaurants, they are both delicious and monies going towards the research and organization supporting Autism. I ate one, as my youngest daughter did, too. I wear a ‘blue ribbon’ this whole month on my shirt or clothing for the subject, too. Take care and hope to stay in better touch. Smiles to you since this post made me smile, Sherri!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh no worries dear Robin. I have the same happen to me, and in fact I have been away since last week (enforced break due to a bit of a family crisis) and so I am now horribly behind too. I have found this problem lately with the Reader too, I don’t seem to catch your posts and I was thinking last week that I must come and catch up with you as I missed you, but then everything went a bit pear-shaped since last week and well…here we both are! More importantly, it is always a delight to read your wonderful, indepth comments and thank you so much for sharing about the Pieces of Hope cookies. I have never heard of such a thing, what a wonderful idea 🙂 And I am blessed greatly by your blue ribbon and you and your daughter’s support of research for Autism. You take care too, and yes, will definitely be visiting you as soon as I’m caught up here. I have so many email notifications from posts that I hardly dare to look… So glad to make you smile Robin. You have certainly filled my heart with joy and warmth with your heartfelt words, bless you 🙂

      Like

  41. Steve Rebus says:

    Hey Sherri! I’ve really missed your posts and the way you express the full spectrum of emotions! 🙂
    Time for me to catch up on whats been happening in the summer house! God bless

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Hi Steve! So lovely to hear from you again, you know how much I love your visits to the Summerhouse 🙂 It’s been a crazy last few weeks, my brother was taken suddenly ill (but recovering now, thank the Lord), then we had a weekend in London and I just got back very late last night from spending 5 days in Jersey with my Mum for Liberation Day. I’ll be posting about it as soon as I can, phew! I’m catching up too, so behind with blogging and my visits, but I’ll be over to you as soon as I can and I hope things are going well for you. I loved hearing about your wonderful holiday on FB, wow, what an adventure 🙂 God bless you too my friend 🙂

      Like

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