Getting ready for Spirit of the Hills Festival of the Arts November 3rd and 4th 2017, by, Felicity Sidnell Reid…

With thanks to the story-reading ape!

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Spirit of the Hills, the Canadian arts association to which I belong, is planning an exciting and challenging project. To mark Canada’s 150th anniversary, celebrate the growing variety and diversity of our arts community, and engage more members of the public in the arts, we decided to hold a Festival of the Arts on November 3 and 4.

Spirit of the Hills is a flourishing organization. It started in 2000 to promote and support the many artists of all kinds who live in Northumberland County, east of Toronto, and surrounding areas.

We have been working on the Festival since last October. How quickly time goes by!

The events—featuring members of Spirit of the Hills who are writers, artists, musicians, performers, and teachers— have now been confirmed.

We’re thrilled to hold the festival at beautiful St Peter’s Anglican Church in Cobourg. It has wonderful facilities, including an auditorium and a…

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OF READING, WRITING LETTERS AND…BLOGGING – Guest Post by, Felicity Sidnell Reid…

Many thanks to the Story Reading Ape, as usual!

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Licensed to use image obtained – Copyright ragnarocks 123RF Stock Photo

Who remembers Josephine Tey and her hero, Inspector Alan Grant? Perhaps very few, though her novel, The Daughter of Time, was listed as number 1 on the British Crime Writers’ Association list of the Top Crime Novels of All Time in 1990 nearly 40 years after her death. In 1995, The Mystery Writers of America rated the book fourth on their similar list.

TheDaughter of Time is an unusual mystery, in which Alan Grant, recovering from a badly broken leg in hospital, is sent a card of the National Portrait Gallery’s picture of Richard III painted by an artist who was Richard’s contemporary. In Grant’s view, the portrait doesn’t jibe with Richard’s reputation as a murderous villain and Grant sets out to discover the “real nature” of the maligned king and to prove that he had no…

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Walking under trees: facts and fantasies – Guest Post by, Felicity Sidnell Reid…

Many thanks to Chris as usual for finding a spot on his blog for this post.

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

After the torrential downpour we experienced yesterday, walking in the park with my dog, Danny, was a special pleasure today. The woods were full of puddles, some the size of small ponds. The trees drinking up the water shook off the rain and set their flowers and new leaves dancing.

Japanese scientists suggested a few years ago, that walking under the woodland canopy an activity they call “forest bathing” improves immune function, reduces stress levels and promotes creativity.

Cleaner air and less noise and distraction play a part, but some researchers also argue that the trees may give off a mist of “wood essential oils” which have a beneficial effect.

New research recently measured an improvement in cognition after subjects of the research took a 50 minute walk in a treed park. Not only the improved air quality and quiet affected the walkers but the colours and complex shapes in…

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Musings About Identity and Home – Guest Post by, Felicity Sidnell Reid…

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

This year Canada celebrates the 150th anniversary of Confederation. It’s a year in which many will think about where they came from and where they now live. Whether they came as an immigrant or a refugee, those who have arrived in their own lifetime, may wonder once again if they are at ‘home’; ask themselves when that conviction came to them and what changed them from someone seeking a new home into someone who found one.

Some may look back on generations of their family who have settled here, others to thousands of years that this land mass has been the home of their ancestors. In spite of its vastness and many travellers’ first impressions of its apparently untouched beauties, we have learned more in recent years of the people who lived here thousands of years ago and how they lived. In the past week a new discovery has…

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Are we there yet? – Guest Post by Felicity Sidnell Reid…

Thank you for posting this Chirs

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

All photographs are courtesy of, and copyrighted to, my daughter Anne Sidnell

It was March 2oth yesterday, the date of the spring equinox for 2017. Officially, it is the first day of spring here, but the weather is still cold; last week we had a snowstorm and only the snowdrops, true to their name, have dared to show their faces.

I recently heard a meteorologist arguing passionately that we should stop calculating the seasons on the basis of where the earth is positioned in relation to the sun, as astronomers do, choosing the solstices and equinoxes to neatly divide the year, and consider only earthly conditions.

Meteorologists base their seasonal calendar on the annual temperature cycle. And of course we do in fact make our minds up about whether and when spring has arrived in our own corner of the world depending on the weather.

Some bloggers I follow have…

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The Joys of making a radio series – Guest Post by Felicity Sidnell Reid…

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog


This February my co-host, Gwynn Scheltema, and I are celebrating the fourth anniversary of a series of interviews we broadcast on local radio, Northumberland 89.7 FM, also streamed on the station’s website, and archived on our own websitewhich can be accessed at any time and from anywhere.

The series is called Word on the Hills.

We interview novelists, poets, playwrights, journalists, memoirists, non-fiction writers, editors and publishers and sometimes singer-songwriters, who live, or work or who have a connection with our region, eastern Ontario.

When we began we were truly novices, uncertain about whether we could achieve the technical competence to run our own show and constantly worrying about whether we would be able to find enough interesting interviewees to keep the show going. Now as we enter our fourth year we know we can do both, so this is a time of celebration.

We love making…

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Winter’s here: it’s time to shut the door and enjoy the warmth inside! – Guest Post by Felicity Sidnell Reid…

Thanks to Chris Graham for publishing this on !

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

_dsc0037-1Photo Copyright: Anne Sidnell

When the wind is whipping snow around my garden and even my dog is reluctant to brave the cold outside, it’s time to read without guilt. My Christmas, this year, has been filled with books. And the weather is cooperating, encouraging me to stay home and read… and read. At present I am perusing Penelope Lively’s memoir, Dancing Fish and Ammonites. Its discursive nature demands such attention. Written when she was 80, she reflects, in a series of essays, on Old Age, her Life and Times, Memory, Reading and Writing, and Six “Things”. Her book is not a chronological narrative, but more of a conversation, which bewitches the reader into silent — or sometimes out-loud debate. I found myself commenting, questioning, agreeing and disagreeing as though she were sitting, across from me by a flickering fire, surrounded by her personal library of books—which seemed a…

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One Dark Night – Guest Post…

Thank you to The Story Reading Ape.
Merry Christmas

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog


Evening seeped into the streets with the persistent rain. By four-thirty, we’d drawn the blackout curtains tight. The grey world outside, grew darker as night squatted down over the village and the city below the hill. We shut it out, smothering the drone of planes. Later, no doubt, a siren’s scream would cut the foggy atmosphere. Colour would flame an ominous scarlet, as bombs hit the centre of the city and the docks. While searchlights cast white ribbons into the sky, the clacking Ack-Ack guns would puncture the night, again and again.

Inside, the lamplight cast a cozy glow across the dining room’s brown carpet, leather sofa and even over the faded velvet curtain covering the monstrous Morrison air-raid shelter, we used as a table. A couple of days before Christmas, after we’d eaten tea and listened to Children’s Hour, my mother, as usual, turned down the radio to a…

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Shutting up the Cottage – Guest Post…

Thanks to the Story Reading Ape for posting this. If you have never looked at his website, take a look now–there’s always something interesting to read

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog


This poem describes a very Canadian ritual. Many cottages nowadays are really holiday houses accessible all through the year and boasting every mod con, but the one in this poem is a log cabin on a small lake. It could only be reached by boat or by a long and arduous trek through the woods. It was first published in Hill Spirits (Blue Denim Press 2012), an anthology of poems and stories by writers from Northumberland County, Ontario.

Shutting up the Cottage

October again and we’re crammed in the car,

Gawping at splotches of operatic trees

singing their swan song, facing south.

Ah! How like Thomson, we cry,

or Jackson, or even MacDonald!

We flick through landscapes, as

though they were plates in a book.

The crowded seats are loudly warm

with bundled children, sweaters, and

the dog. No match though for the heated

colours up against the windows.


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Loneliness – Guest Post…

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog


We fear loneliness, so we’re often frightened of being alone and place little value on solitude these days. Many people seem to feel singleness is a parlous state to be criticised or regretted, though so many people live alone these days. We live in a world that is becoming more and more intrusive and the intrusion more acceptable. The ease with which we can connect with family and friends tends to increase our dependency on others. Everywhere we look, people are hugging their phones to their ears or texting a message to someone, clinging to their instrument, as though it will allow them to actually touch the correspondent.

LonelyBut are we depriving our children of the opportunity to be independent and enjoy their own company? Previous generations of children were usually expected to play with the other children on the street or amuse themselves with their siblings or on their…

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