Author A S Bielby

About me I was born in Stockton on Tees to a family living in Middlesbrough. We moved to a village near Whitby in North Yorkshire where I spent many years. I graduated from the University of East Anglia, worked as a Careers Advisor ending up as head of a university careers service. I have two children, two stepchildren and a lovely grandson. The children are grown-up with their own lives.

My husband and I came to Cyprus to live in 2007 after a hectic work life ‘to live the dream’, having finally retired from the property management business.

I have, for many years, wanted to write a book but I didn’t really know how to do it. Having met a member of the Paphos Writers Group, I decided to apply to join so have had a lot of practical help as well as encouragement to write. I am now slowly writing my novel as well as short stories. I met Glynis Smy (author of ‘Ripper, My Love’) recently, whose encouragement and help have given me a new lease of life..

My book ‘Payback Time’ is set in the North of England, as well as the south west of Cyprus. It is a romance/ family drama; how they meet and endeavour to overcome adversity, experience adventures on the way. Will they all make it intact through dark days? Time will tell.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Go Ape

                                                      Go Ape                          

             Eyes closed and hoping for the best, I pushed myself off a platform 30 feet above the ground.

 How do I get myself in such positions I asked myself. I need my brains looking at. You know you hate heights and avoid them like the plague. You should know better at 70 years old.

 I swung into a cargo net scrabbling to get up it to reach the next platform which was above me and to the right. Every time I tried to get my feet into one of the holes and get some purchase to lift myself higher it swung away from me. Infuriating! It was no good it wouldn’t work. My arms wouldn’t allow me to pull myself up either. They felt like jelly. I was caught like a fly in a spider’s web.

 No good just admit defeat and ask for help, sod the pride.

‘Help! My arms won’t haul my weight higher; I can’t get my feet into one of the holes to get purchase to lift myself,’ I said with resignation.

 Fancy falling at the first hurdle.

‘It’s OK,’called up the instructor. ‘What’s your name?’ 

‘Annette. Can you give me a hand?’

I felt conspicuous and embarrassed.  

What on earth has my name got to do with it. Suggest something so I can get on my way. Now come on don’t be tetchy! I told myself.

                ‘Are you frightened?’ he sounded concerned.

                ‘No.’ Strangely enough I wasn’t.

We’d had instruction on how to keep safe plus my nephew, who is a coastguard, told me that the lines we were clipped to had been tested to carry 3 tons. Now I know I’m over weight but even I don’t come anywhere near that, so I felt safe.

                ‘Good. Just look to the left and up. You’ll see that I’m lowering a ring. Clip yourself onto it and I’ll give you a hand.’ As he said the ring came down, I did as instructed, soon feeling myself going up fast. What it is to be young and fit. He lifted me up to the level of the platform enabling me to go to the right on the net. It was more stable at that point as it was fixed.

                ‘You should be OK now. If you need help further round just use your whistle.’

                I deliberately hadn’t looked at the Go Ape website to see what it entailed as I didn’t want to be put off before the start. Just take it a challenge at a time. It’ll be fine. If the others can do it so can you.

We negotiated swaying planks dangling in the air just under the forest canopy walked along wires suspended high above ground, sped down zip wires to name but a few. It was going fine until I spied a load of stirrups dangling singly from wires or the alternative was to negotiate a rope bridge which was giving my step son grief. It was so unstable. OMG get me out of here! I looked round but there was no escape as people were coming up behind me. Fortunately my daughter called out.

‘Don’t worry. Just go the way of the stirrups. Disregard them. Sit down in your harness and pull yourself along. Look!’ She didn’t want to negotiate another cargo net so was doing as she said. It looked easy. Sure enough it worked. Got out of jail!

Robert held back and waited for me at the start of the next one.

‘I don’t think you’ve seen the really high one we have to do soon have you?’

‘I don’t think I want to. I’ll wait until I get there. Better not to anticipate. If you can do it so can I.’ I think I sounded braver than I felt.

It wasn’t long before we got there. At the start of each challenge there was a rope ladder to climb to get up to the required height. This one was a long haul and strangely I found these ladders more of a problem due to my having a dodgy leg than the high challenges. I made it to the platform, breathing deeply whilst others in the group clipped onto the correct lines before zipping down the longest zip wire I’d ever seen. Now keep cool don’t look down at the ground. Concentrate on the procedures. You can’t show yourself up now. Try keeping your legs out to the front so you don’t land on your back as usual.

I closed my eyes, pushing myself off the platform 60 feet up. Once off I opened them to see the magnificence of the forest flashing by. The speed was alarming. Yikes!! This’ll be messy. Turning around half way I soon felt my heels touch the ground. Digging them into the chippings I came to an undignified halt.

 Mission accomplished!

Copyright AS Bielby July 2012

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Birthday Shock

                                     Birthday Shock 

          I can’t be! I looked in horror at the birthday card my friend had handed me.

            ‘How lovely! Thank you very much. The words are lovely. This is a nice surprise.’
I must be getting good at lying as I don’t think she realised that I felt dismay at the front of the card and the huge number that was depicted on it. I quickly calculated the years from my date of birth.

OMG she’s right!!! And there’s nothing I can do about it but accept it. In my mind I’m nowhere near that age. How did it creep upon me? Where has the time gone? I felt rather disconsolate but tried to hide it whilst I had company. We prattled on about our lives however, in the back of my mind I couldn’t help thinking that I had to accept now I’m considered old.

After she left I spoke to my husband about it. The reality of my age had really hit hard.

            ‘Well, you’ve known about it for long enough’ he replied smiling. ‘It’s only years. None of us like to think we’re old and we still do most of the things we could do when we were young. We’ve good health on the whole which is a big plus, but most of all we are still learning and are interested in things happening. We’re receptive to new ideas and open to technology so apart from the years we’re not old.’

My daughter rang.

 ‘I’ve been organising your big birthday bash and there will be nine of us to Go Ape in Dalby  Forest, with fifteen of us for the meals that weekend. We’re going to have a fantastic time.’
She went on to relate who was coming, where we were to meet, where we she had booked for us to eat etc.
            ‘It’s going to be fab! I’m looking forward to it so much. You just need to turn up.’
She continued discussing what we would do when we were staying with her. It was heart warming that she would go to so much trouble for me. Perhaps there was an upside to my having a big birthday as I was amazed that so many people would travel from all over the UK to help me celebrate.

Well I suppose I can’t escape chronology but I can have a good time. I hadn’t envisaged swinging from on high in the forest; going through an endurance course to celebrate my 70th birthday, however I was really chuffed our daughters thought that we could still do it. I would rise to the occasion whatever happened. They weren’t to know that I’m scared of heights. It was they who had bought the tickets for us to have the opportunity.

 If I have to grow old I plan to do it disgracefully. Watch out!