Category Archives: Books

ALL 6s AND 7s – ACCORDING TO WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

Age 6 from Rachel Mulligan’s sequence ‘Seven Ages of Man’ stained glass roundels illustrating the life of her father Jim Mulligan, Stained Glass Museum, Ely Cathedral

On my way home from seeing the audiologist about my hearing aids, I thought about all the ‘falsies’ now available to us. I don’t have those we usually associate with the term – when I had surgery for breast cancer immediate reconstruction wasn’t on offer, but I have been fitted with some of the other prosthetic replacements hardly dreamt of when Jacques in Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’ spoke of the Seven Ages of Man.

In the UK by 2018 the expectation of life for men was 79.6 and for women 83.2. In Shakespeare’s time, in the 16th century, the expectation of life for both was just under 40, given the high mortality during infancy and childbirth. At 40, I’d have thought myself in the prime of life and was just about to start my specialist training as a consultant pathologist. My final career was just about to begin.

‘The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose’

‘Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.’

I used to be lean and wish I were again. I’ve more ‘the fair round belly’ of the Justice and I only wear slippers at home – haven’t yet descended into going out in them, nor in curlers. I’ve most of my own teeth with only one false tooth – a bridge supported by a tooth on either side, and since having my cataracts removed and false lenses inserted, I no longer wear spectacles,. Also, I have a false hip after fracturing the neck of my right femur in Spain in 2000.
I’m not sure about the ‘second childishness’, though every now again, when I try to remember a word or a name, I experience the ‘mere oblivion’. But so at times so do my children and grandchildren. Immediately after my heart attack I virtually lost my sense of taste and some manual dexterity, but they’re mostly back now.
Lucky we didn’t live in Shakespeare’s time, when ‘sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything’ meant literally that!!

Lots more like this in my memoir ‘‘Woman in White Coat’. Buy it on Kindle at £2.99 or as a paperback on Amazon at £9.99

http://bit.ly/Woman_in_a_White_Coat

Woman in a White Coat paperback

Fantastic!! Grove Vale Library – a ‘new’ London library

 

Brand new premises

 

Well not a completely new library – a previous library moved across the road to sparkling new premises adjoining a super-convenient, very tempting, M & S Food Hall. Great to see at a time when libraries are closing down or losing staff.

Jolly mural in entrance

A jolly mural in the entrance could keep a child busy for ages finding all the different animals and buildings. So different from the somber Victorian facades  we’re so used to.

Shelves stuffed with books but bookcases not much taller than me!

I miss the towering shelves in the old Whitechapel library stretching up to the 10 foot high ceilings.  I used to have to stand on one of those rolling stools to reach.

 

Health and safety would have something to say about that now!

Scrumptious Rock Cakes – ‘Woman in a White Coat’ Memoir for Christmas

Delicious rock cakes

These Rock cakes are so easy and low sugar – none in the dough mixture and just a sprinkle of demerara sugar on the top to make them crunchy. And they freeze well – if you have any left once the family has seen them.

You can read about the cookery classes I went to at Morley College with Joyce. Thanks to her teaching I’m happy to tackle most recipes. Such a shame she died so soon after retiring.

Read about cookery and further education in my memoir Woman in a White Coat. It makes an excellent Christmas present.

The  paperback is available from Amazon at £9.99 or on Kindle at £2.99

Recipe for Rock Cakes
Continue reading Scrumptious Rock Cakes – ‘Woman in a White Coat’ Memoir for Christmas

‘Woman in a White Coat’ by Dr Abby J Waterman (2017) and ‘The Woman in White’ by Wilkie Collins (1859)

I read ‘The Woman in White’ by Wilkie Collins as a teenager 70+ years ago, so when I came to think of a title for my memoir that would suggest that among my several professions were some in which I would wear a doctor’s white coat, his title never crossed my mind.
Now retired, I have been in turn a Harley Street dentist, an entrepreneur (co-owner of Conran-group designed educational toyshops), the director of a Cancer Research laboratory at a major London teaching hospital, as well as a wife and mother of four children.

About ‘Woman in a White Coat’

I was first reminded of Wilkie Collins’ book when I saw my memoir for sale on Amazon and now I see that BBC 1 is about to air a serialized version starting tonight – the last was in 1997. Be interesting to see what the BBC makes of it.

Tonight on BBC 1 at 9pm

Although I have started writing a  medical whodunit, ‘Woman in a White Coat’ is not a thriller like ‘The Woman in White’ though my memoir does have some cliff-hangers!!

Askew Road Library , Shepherd’s Bush, London W12 9AS – What a delightful library

The library entrance now with the almost ubiquitous Amazon pickup locker

It was lovely to be invited by the librarian of Askew Road library to give a talk and reading from my memoir Woman in a White Coat. The occasion was one of the Wednesday coffee mornings that have been running in the library for many years.

Friendly open space

The library is on one floor and in a light friendly open space. To one side, towards the back, is a gaily coloured children’s area with carpeting so the children can read and play on the floor.

Intimidating when empty

The chairs for the participants were arranged in a large semicircle. Louise was in the UK with her family for Easter and she came with Josh so I had an audience of at least two plus the librarians. But when I sat at the table at the front,  the expanse of empty chairs looked enormous. Louise and Josh were lost at one end.

However, to my surprise and delight, by the time we started at 11am, not only were all the chairs filled  but some latecomers had to fetch extra seating.

Most of the audience – mainly women with one man – were seniors who remembered life pre-WW2 and my story of life in a cold water tenement  resonated with them, as did the medical episodes. They laughed and caught their breath in all the right places.

What a lovely responsive audience and welcoming library staff. I felt very lucky to have been given this invitation and have promised to return – perhaps with my sequel ’25 houses’

And Now the Delightful Belgravia Bookshop, London

So pleased the Belgravia Bookshop 59 Ebury Street, London SW1W 0NZ is going to stock my memoir Woman in a White Coat.

A great place to browse

The bookshop is in the heart of Belgravia behind and to the north-east of Victoria Coach Station towards Eaton Square.

The problem for someone like me with a sore hip is that is is a tidy walk from the nearest bus stops and parking during the week is very difficult.

However I was delighted to find lots of parking spaces when we went there on a Saturday and parking is free after 1.30pm

You might even be able to park right outside!!

it’s a must  for book-lovers – 020-7259 9336 @belgraviab and also the home of the Ardvark Bureau and Gallic Books

Hurrah for Independent Bookshops

Two more independent bookshops are stocking my memoir Woman in a White Coat.

Brick Lane Bookshop
Lots to chose from

Brick Lane Bookshop   is an island of calm in the midst of the Bagels, Curry houses, Vintage clothes and Street food.
Tweet them on @bricklanebooks

 

An Aladdin’s Cave

Newham Bookshop is an Aladdin’s  cave of books and craft materials. And a super friendly and helpful assistant.

Tweet @NewhamBookshop

Woman in a White Coat

Christmas and giving ‘Woman in the White Coat’ and Visiting ‘The Singing Tree’ at the V&A.

The Singing Tree by ES Devlin

This year the V&A Christmas tree, the Singing Tree by Es Devlin, is made up of sound and light.

 

Composed of birch ply, steel cable and projected light, you can hear the tree ‘singing’ as you move round it.

 

The individual little plaques bear printed words from visitors placed in the collection box or online.

Presentaion at Pimlico Library

At the talk I gave at Pimlico library last Wednesday I was delighted to have people saying they were buying copies of my memoir ‘Woman in a White Coat’ to give as Christmas presents.

It’s also available on Kobo, Barnes and Noble, iBooks et as well as on Kindle.

And lovely seeing some of my dearest friends there.

Fantastic! ‘Woman in a White Coat’ in Paperback as well as on Amazon Kindle

So pleased that after a fairly horrendous experience with a company putting my memoir Woman in a White Coat on Amazon, my memoir is available for pre-order at £9.99 from Amazon or from your local bookstore. Had a wonderful trio of professionals – Nathan Burton Cover designer, M Rules Typesetters and Clays the Printers.

Another colourway

The cover designer, Nathan Burton, produced lots of possible designs for the cover. I could have chosen any one – they were so great. I chose the blue and turquoise version of this design but nearly picked this one instead.

 

Cover used for publication

 

 

 

it’s bright and cheerful but I felt the colourway I chose had more gravitas!!

 

 

Abby as a young dental stud

 

This was the most striking design but I didn’t want to use a picture of me. I chose to write my memoir under the pseudonym of Dr Abby J Waterman and so I didn’t pick this one.

The original photograph is of me with a ‘phantom head’ – a metal skull into which plaster casts are fixed bearing real teeth that have ben extracted for reasons such as periodontal disease.

We practiced cutting cavities and inserting fillings and crowns on them. We gave them names and got quite fond of them!!

It’s so easy to ePublish with PRONOUN

The Pronoun Website

I commissioned PublishNation to put my memoir Woman in a White Coat on Amazon, but used Pronoun (now part of Macmillan) to publish my book on a variety of other platforms including Kobo, Google, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Bibliotheca and Overdrive.

What a great experience!! As I am now an 86-year-old, I expected some difficulty, but it couldn’t have been easier. And they were fantastic at answering my queries by email.

Read all about me

 

I didn’t use them for Amazon because while they offer 70% royalties to US authors they only offer 41%  to those in the UK. If I write another book, I might consider using them for Amazon too – though as I pointed out to Pronoun, it seems most unfair that authors on this side of the pond will earn so much less!!