Yesterday I was lucky enough to be invited to do a Spotlight Sunday for the “We Love Memoirs” group on Facebook. This fantastically supportive group asked me some very good questions and allowed me to talk about myself all day, which was a really unusual and lovely experience. Have a read and discover a few things you did not know or had always wanted to ask. I have not edited this, just left the spelling mistakes as they were because it is very long 🙂
Good morning on Mother’s Day-well it is in the UK anyway! Our guest today is a mum and her memoir reminisces back to when her son was just over a year old and the family’s experiences sailing on their yacht. Tonia Hall(Tonia Parronchi) was born in 1963 in Chelmsford, Essex, UK and grew up in Shenfield. Tonia attained a Degree in English Literature and History. She worked for a year as an Air Hostess and then in a fashion showroom in London. She lived in England until 1990 when she moved to Italy. Tonia has always had a passion for travel and indeed she met her Italian husband Guido whilst travelling-actually in Greece. They have been living in Italy ever since. Son James came along in 1994 and Guido decided to take early retirement (he was 46 at the time) so that they could share their love of travel. They bought a 42ft Ketch. The vessel’s name was Whisper so that’s the significance of Whisper in Tonia’s memoir title. They perceived idyllic adventures sailing-of course, with a 14 month old baby in tow, it wasn’t quite as easy as they first envisaged. A WHISPER ON THE MEDITERRANEAN is Tonia’s tale of those memorable times. Later the family moved to Tuscany, to a beautiful valley that is the setting for her novel THE SONG OF THE CYPRESS. In addition, Tonia has just published a short poetry memoir with reflections and memories associated with moments of her life. So, what next for Tonia? Let’s find out now and give her a really warm welcome to our famous Hot Seat! smile emoticon Don’t forget: please don’t use the reply feature-just start a new comment each time to keep things easily visible (especially photos) and to keep things flowing nicely. Ask Tonia anything you like!
Here are the links for Tonia’s books:
A WHISPER ON THE MEDITERRANEAN (Memoir):
AMAZON UNIVERSAL LINK: smarturl.it/WhisperMediterranean
AMAZON UK LINK: www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00NMUCIAA
AMAZON .COM LINK: www.amazon.com/dp/B00NMUCIAA
Here is the link for Tonia’s website: http://www.toniaparronchi.com/
Here is the link for Tonia’s author page on Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/toniaparronchibooks/?fref=ts
The last poem that I want to share here is one of my most recent ones. I had picked some of the huge pink poppies that I grew from seeds my Mum gave me. Mum loves poppies. She has poppy mugs and curtains, poppies on her blouse. Of course the poppy is also a symbol of remembrance and has connotations of opium-blurred reality, so its fragile beauty has an innate poignancy and depth of meaning.
I had a poppy in a vase and when I woke in the morning I admired it anew and was surprised that it had lasted so long. I turned my back for an instant and when I looked again, below the vase lay one perfect petal. What a precious image. One soft, pink curl on a wooden shelf gazing up at the rest of the bloom. It said it all – how nothing lasts forever, how beautiful life is and how important silence is in our lives. We need those precious moments of silence to just be, to let life happen, to meditate on our inner truths.
How Silently the Petal Falls
Silent, the first look of love
and our deepest grief.
Rejoice, in simple contemplation
the perfect, aching space.
How silently the petal falls.
“When we got back on board Whisper, after visiting Capri, Guido got his fishingrod out again and whiled away the hours until dinner. He didn’t catch anything but was happy enough anyway. Opening a can of tuna was the nearest thing to a fish dinner that Sonia and I could come up with!
500g spaghetti, 2 gloves of garlic, 1 small onion, 120g tin of tuna, 240g tin of peeled tomatoes, salt and sugar for seasoning, olive oil, chopped parsley.
Chop the garlic and onion and fry them in a little olive oil until they begin to brown. Add the tin of tuna and cook for a further couple of minutes. Add the tinned tomatoes, seasoning and half a tin of water. Cook the sauce for 10 -15 minutes until the tomatoes break up and the sauce amalgamates well. Meanwhile, cook the pasta and when it is ready, strain it and stir in the sauce. Add the chopped parsley just before serving.” What no one tells you when you watch most cookery programs or read cookery books, is that most of the fussiness of deseeding or removing skins is so unnecessary. Italians just do NOT do that. They cook with all seeds in and skin on. It adds roughage and flavours and cuts down the cooking time involved too.
I remember my own beginning as a vague, blind awareness; a subtle sensation of gritty soil and cool, damp darkness around me. Then a certainty of something other, a force that could not be ignored. I felt a swelling within, a desire to expand and push inexorably upwards. I reached out, snaking thin, vulnerable shoots in the direction that drew me. At my core, dank coolness enwrapped me but with each surge of energy, my thinning tips explored new sensations of crumbly earth, pungent with the scent of leaf mould, moss and spore. At last, the first glimpse of pale light sent shockwaves through me and triggered a heady spurt of growth, as I surged to join the miraculous daylight.
After this first frantic scramble for life I settled back, growing slowly in my sheltered space among the old stones, last relic of the men of Tuscia; growing accustomed to the rising sun that brought warmth to the day and the rhythms of the moon as it painted me silver at night. Through a slow, steady cycle of seasons, I grew ever upward until my girth pushed aside the stones that had once protected me and I towered above all that surrounded me and dominated my world.
For the longest time I stood alone, content in my solitude.
Men came and built their dwellings nearby and I watched children play and grow, age and die. Over time, the homes were abandoned and rediscovered, the land worked and then forgotten. Soldiers came and with them came fear but nothing lasts forever:
I was alone once more.
Time and space flowed around me in never-ending circles.
I delighted in each moment of day or year.
I dreamt through centuries yet focused on the intimate second.
I felt my strength grow until it was too great to be constrained by bark and leaf and then, as I expanded, stretching out toward the universe, I felt the shock of connection with someone who stopped to rest in my shade. This was only the first of many such communions with the human soul; so fragile and yet so brave. Now and then, as centuries passed, a special soul drew near, one who could hear my song and who, for a short time sang with me.”