Catch up

It seems ages since I wrote a blog post.

Writing wise I have been updating my book, ‘The Diary of Teti Tuti aged 12 and half summers ,’  making it into a paperback version and adding illustrations.

This is now ready and will be published soon.

I have also been writing a few new poems and was pleased to see I was shortlisted in this month’s writing magazine in the children’s poetry competition. There is also a mention of my poetry book, ‘Turning the map over’ recently released.  This is my first collection of poems and it can be bought on Amazon.

I am pleased to say that I will be off to the Swanwick writing school again in August, having booked my place. I am looking forward to meeting up with my writing chums.

I have been busy sorting out my family trees. I started family treeing over thirty years ago and about twenty years ago I put all my records on a Family Tree Maker programme on my computer. I was pleased to see that this can sync with which means I will never lose my info. I have 1,700 people on my trees. I have traced most family lines.

When I first started my family tree research I was forever travelling to London ( St Caths, the census office, Society of Genealogists)  and all over the country looking at parish registers and visiting various records offices, how amazing that so many records are now available on and all you need do is click your mouse!    Not only that but I have found some new cousins.  Now what I want to do is make all my family trees into books.


Turning the Map Over. My first poetry collection now out.

I am pleased to announce that my first poetry collection is now out.

Available on Amazon in paperback or as Kindle.

new cover for book


This is Shirley Anne Cook’s first collection of poems.
They are inspired by a variety of themes, ranging from childhood memories to reflections on the complexity of life.
Most of the poems in this collection have won or been placed in established competitions.

‘Turning the Map Over’ is a stunning first collection. The maps of the title are routes through places, cultures, times past and relationships. They are explored with candour and vision, through varied, finely crafted poems which are enhanced by fresh insights and vivid imagery. Evocative and focused, this collection is as moving and inspiring as it is memorable.’
Alison Chisholm, Poet and Tutor.

‘An outstanding debut from a frequent prizewinner on the poetry scene. This first collection will rattle your bookshelf with a language that dances and sings. ‘Turning the Map Over’ takes you to places you have never been before. Enjoy!’

Pauline Suett Barbieri, Waterloo Press, Hove.

About my sequel to Body Trapped, now out, feeling under the weather and a poetry comp shortlisting.



I published the sequel to Body Trapped last week on Kindle called Body Trapped Two. Makes sense  🙂  What do you mean you haven’t read the first one?  Get a move on! They don’t cost much on Kindle.

Basically the first book is about 12 year old boy Lee who ends up in 15 year old Gary’s body and there is no way to get his own body back. Or is there? Read the books to find out!

Body Trapped won first prize in the 2009 Swanwick writing school awards which gave me a free week at the school in that year. It’s a great place to go and meet like minded writers. I couldn’t go this year but hope to go back in 2016. I missed going and meeting up with my writing friends.

Bad news this week I have been struck down with the dreaded lurgy, a cold. Guess I caught it at work in school.  Never had such a bad cough but hubby is making me lots of hot soup and I mean hot, with chilli. Lovely.

Other news, I have been shortlisted in a very prestigious poetry competition out of 7,000!  I can’t say yet which one. So watch this space.  bodyrapped

First prize in the Mary Charman-Smith poetry competition


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I had some wonderful news today. My poem ‘Sandstorm’ came first in the Mary Charman-Smith poetry competition.

It will be on the above web site soon.

I also have a poem runner up ‘Care homes for poets’ in the new issue of Writers’ Forum out today.

Here is that poem. There is a reference in this poem to one of my favourite poets. Can you see where it is and guess who I am referring to?
Answers in the comments please.

Care homes for poets

They are opening care homes just for poets.
Mornings will be spent reading
and analysing favourite poems.
Life stories will be told in ballad form
and newly penned poems critiqued.
There are bound to be disagreements
over style and form with much
stamping of swollen feet.
Chair exercises will be conducted
in time with rhyme, and poetry recitals
given to family and friends.

In the afternoons the poets
will be taken into the garden
to study beads of rain on leaves,
or a hackneyed shard of sunlight
filtering through the trees.
Someone may unearth a dead fox
cradle it in their arms and cry, ‘This is my baby!’
A nurse will wrench it away saying,
‘There’s no more to be said.’

In the evening the poets will doze
and suck on lost-lipped mouths,
although the occasional
epitaph may be composed.
At precisely 8pm the poets
will be lowered into half-baths.
Then they will be dried
and shrouded in their sheets.
Struggling to sleep they will
think of a hundred ways
to write about their dying.

After death


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After death

I am donating my body to medical science.
Trainee surgeons will dissect me –
stomach, fingers, legs, arms.
My skin will be prised apart
to expose garish yellow layers of fat
and chalk-white bones.
Organs will be labelled.
A careful and detailed
dissection to aid a student’s
understanding of the anatomical arrangement.

My brain should yield valuable
information about blood supply
and the consequences of its interruption.
Students will scrutinise the cortex,
hippocampus and ventricles.
They will know my brain inside out,
but they won’t see the many poems
that were waiting to be written.

Happy birthday John Wayne! My hero :)


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In memory of John Wayne who would have been 108 today. Interestingly my granddad died age 108.

There rode a legend ………

It was a sad day for all John Wayne fans when he passed away on June 11th 1979 age 72.
John Wayne or ‘The Duke’ as he was known is my favourite actor. You can keep your Leonardo DiCaprios and Brad Pitts here was a ‘real’ man. With his rugged good looks, distinctive walk and voice Wayne oozed sex appeal. But more importantly the characters he played respected women and knew how to treat them-you get the impression that this was how John Wayne was off screen. He walked tall, (he was six feet four inches), and proud and embodied the ideals of decency and honesty. He was big and tough, but he could also be tender.
In his on screen roles he didn’t go looking for trouble, but when it came he met it like a man.
This is what his character ‘John Bernard Books’ says in what was Wayne’s last film ‘The Shootist,’ ( 1976). I think it neatly sums up all Wayne stood for;

‘I won’t be wronged, I won’t be insulted and I won’t be laid a hand on. I don’t do these things to other people. I require the same from them’

John Wayne attended the University of Southern California on a football scholarship. He worked in the film industry there, as a prop man to help pay his college fees. He was spotted by the director Raoul Walsh who gave him one of his first starring roles in ‘The Big Trail’ in 1930. It was Walsh who also gave Wayne his stage name of ‘John Wayne’. His real name was Marion Robert Morrison, but from an early age he was given the nickname ‘Duke’; apparently because he had an Airedale dog with this name.
The Big Trail was not a box office success, however and Wayne went back to bit parts. The director John Ford ‘rediscovered’ him and cast him as the Ringo kid in the Oscar winning film ‘Stagecoach’, ( 1939).
Wayne and Ford became life long friends and they made many spectacular westerns together. One of these was ‘The Searchers,’ (1956) in which Wayne plays Ethan Edwards a bitter middle aged loner who spends years looking for his abducted niece. It is a role that is regarded as Wayne’s finest performance and many felt that he should have won an Oscar. He named his youngest son Ethan after his character.
But it was as a hard drinking one eyed fat old Federal Marshall called ‘Rooster Cogburn’ that Wayne won his first and only Oscar in the film ‘True Grit’. (1969). This is my favourite film.
Although he features mainly in westerns and World War Two films Wayne also appears in police films and romantic comedies like ‘The Quiet Man,’ (1952). Starring alongside Maureen O’ Hara he plays an Irish American professional boxer Sean Thornton who moves to Ireland to reclaim his family’s farm. Wayne himself described it as the favourite of all his films. It received seven academy nominations, including best picture. John Ford won his fourth best director Oscar.
The Quiet Man was filmed in ‘Cong’ in ‘County Mayo’ in Ireland and the photography of the lush countryside is breathtaking.

Wayne was married three times. All of his wives were of Hispanic descent.
When asked why this was Wayne said he didn’t plan it that way ‘it was just by happenstance’.
Wayne had seven children and more than fifteen grand children. Several of whom are also actors and they have appeared in his films.

In 1964 Wayne had a cancerous lung removed and then in 1978 he had heart valve replacement surgery. He died on June 11th 1979 after battling cancer again, this time of the stomach. Shortly before his death Wayne converted to Catholicism.

Jimmy Carter was President at the time of Wayne’s death. He said of him;
‘He was bigger than life and in an age of few heroes he was the genuine article.’
Wayne personified the American values and ideals of his era.

He made more than two hundred films and from 1949-1974 Wayne was one of the top ten box office attractions.
His films continue to figure highly in the ratings today and so does he. In the Harris poll of 2007, (Time magazine), he came third beating the likes of Mel Gibson, Tom Cruise and George Clooney. He is the only deceased star on the list and the only one to have appeared on it every year.

Without a doubt John Wayne is the greatest Hollywood actor of all time.

I suspect that had Wayne been asked if he ever thought that one day he would be considered a legend he would have replied in his usual laconic manner. “That’ll be the day!”

No other actor will ever be able to fill his big boots.

He may have ridden off this ‘mortal coil’ but he will never be forgotten!
The hell he will!

Happy birthday to John today, May 26th.