Life lessons learned while nibbling on this British comfort food

Fish and chips with tartar sauce and mushy peas at a hotel restaurant in North Yorkshire, England

My fascination with fish and chips started years ago in an English-type pub located within the heart of the tourist belt in Manila.

The fish and chips were served on a plate, but the food was half-wrapped in plain white paper. I determined it was first-class newsprint. I thought that was strange.

(But I didn’t yet know that in the days of yore in Britain, fish and chips were wrapped in newspaper for takeaways.)

I liked my first taste of fish and chips despite the odd presentation. Salt and vinegar, by the way, were its accompanying condiments.

My taste buds…

Prince Charles does!

Photo by Eniola Bakare on Unsplash

The idea that talking to plants nurtures their growth and health was something that I’ve long held — but largely ignored.

This idea was not planted in my mind after reading about an interview with Prince Charles, who said that he talked to plants, even gave a handshake to one of the branches of the tree that he planted to wish it well.

Nor did this idea sprout in my head from reading the title of a thesis for a master’s degree, that of communications with plants.

Previous to that, I’ve read articles about the benefits of talking to house…

Thomas Keir’s first and second wives were murdered one after the other. Was it just his bad luck as he claimed?

Screenshot image from

Jean Angela Strachan

JEAN Angela Strachan was 15 years old when she first met Thomas Andrew Keir who was eight years her senior.

Born in Australia, Jean was of mixed parentage — Greek, Spanish and Filipino — although she was described in some news items as Filipina.

Keir, meanwhile, was originally from England before his family moved down under.

Jean’s mother was a machinist in a furniture factory which Keir managed. That was where Jean met Keir, while she waited up for her mother at the shop.

Keir started courting Jean when she turned 16.

But I thank these foxy people for the life-changing lessons I learned

Image by andy ballard from Pixabay

The words plagiarism and plagiarist trigger me.

With good reasons. Plagiarists pillaged the primary source of my income at one time. They made my life and those of my co-romance writers waver in a rough, ambivalent sea.

It’s only now, after nearly two decades, will I finally speak about it.

Let me share a brief background first.

It was in the mid-80s when local romance novels in the Philippines first saw print.

Previous to that (and up till now), English-language Mills & Boon, Harlequin Romance, Impulse, Avon Romance and other well-known romance imprints were widely available in all local bookstores.


Super secrets of a seriously sober mind revealed

Photo by Manjunath Mahendrakar on Unsplash

Secrets from the abyss

Keeping secrets is human nature. From a wife eating an extra portion of chocolate when she’s supposedly on a diet — what would the spouse say? — to seeing your sister snogging her ex-boyfriend when they had already broken off — what would mom say to that?

Those are the types of secrets which, when revealed, are easy to believe.

But what about secrets that are so secret, hidden in the abyss of one’s memory vault that has now surfaced? The type that I could only describe as ghostly or mystical and beyond belief?

Blood dripping from the statue of Jesus nailed on the cross

A listener to a couple’s quiet joy or a salve for a lonely soul

Photo credit to the author

Benches speak to my humanity.

And I don’t refer to benches in our home.

The benches in my mind are the ubiquitous ones found outdoors.

It will do wonders for mental health

Spot the hiding dead marigold amidst the healthy, lovely blooms; photo credit to the author

Flowers fill me up with pep. Be they cut flowers in a vase, or blooms in pot plants or those flourishing in gardens — they energize my spirit. They bring me inexplicable joy. The kind of joy that is akin to a bud yearning for a burst of sunshine for it to bloom and rejoice.

But even if I adore flowers, I’m not into its cultivation. Luckily, my other half is, although he’s more of an amateur gardener. I help him in small ways, though, like pulling weeds or occasionally, deadheading.

The deadheads in our garden.

Domestic violence happens to men, too

Alex Skeel and Jordan Worth in happier moments — Screenshot from

WHEN Bedfordshire Police officers found 21-year-old Alex Skeel in the house he shared with his girlfriend Jordan Worth, he was 10 days away from death.

Starved, he also had injuries all over his body. He was bleeding from the wrist which was bandaged with a football sock. There was blood everywhere. The bathroom, as filmed in the officer’s bodycam, was also spattered with blood.

The blood was Skeel’s.

His tormentor and abuser was none other than his girlfriend, 21-year-old Worth. …

It is wrong to assume that domestic-abuse victims are women only.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

FOR a long time, I held the idea that women were the only victims of domestic violence.

Even when I came across a small news item some years ago about a “battered husband”, I thought that it was just an anomaly. An exception to what I thought was on point. How could a man be abused and battered by his wife or partner?

You see, I had this gender-stereotype view that owing to men’s physicality and perceived aggression, they would then be more superior in strength than their spouses — and that women would cower in fear when their spouse…

Josephine Crispin

Published author, editor, storyteller; her books are available on Amazon and some on

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