Eastbourne Blog

The low November sun scatters light across the pathway, making the tiny stones twinkle. I am on Eastbourne seafront walking between two favourite cafes where I like to scribble notes for my next book. The sky is deep blue; a few pink clouds billow on the horizon. A lone swimmer clad in rubber braves the sea, battling against the cold with long feline strokes. Retired couples, hand in hand stroll along. They look contented; married for fifty years has made them this way. Stopping every so often they gaze out to sea. Some of them are in Eastbourne for a ‘turkey and tinsel weekend.’ These are short breaks organised by companies like Shearings and Sunrise, herding older people down by coach for festive fun, food and entertainment  capturing the spirit of Christmas beside the sea.

One of my favourite cafes, Fusciardi’s ice cream parlour, is a beacon along the parade and lures me in. Fusciardi’s serves the best authentic Italian ice cream this side of Rome with some 18 tasty flavours. In the summer there are long queues for ice cream trailing round the corner of the shop, all day long every day. But today there are no queues or takers for their giant sundaes, just a small girl whining at the counter pointing to an ice cream her mother won’t let her have. Regulars are huddled over hot chocolate, their bellies full of the jacket potatoes the cafe serves.

After my cuppa I wander towards the twinkling lights of the recently restored  pier following a fire. The gold domes give it an air of opulence lacking in tired Eastbourne. The road ahead is closed because there was a fire at the Claremont Hotel opposite the pier a week ago. The fire started in the basement, flames taking hold, licking through every room, leaving only the charred facade of this  Grade II building that had given Eastbourne an exquisite, grand appearance since Victorian days. I stare in horror through the windows of the facade onto the blue sky beyond and think of a war zone. I was here last Friday when the fire was raging, driving behind the hotel into black smoke, watching passers-by coughing and flicking ash from their coats, gawping, onlookers snapping pictures of the scene for social media.

That’s all for this week! If you like reading family sagas with a travel twist you might like my novels, ‘Holiday’ and ‘A Time To Reflect.’ Here is the link to my latest book:

 

Please God I’m thirsty in Israel!

A tour through Israel will transform the Bible into vivid reality, through the sites and through the overall experience. From the moment you step off the plane in Tel Aviv into a blast of intense heat, you begin to wonder how on earth various figures in the Bible survived for long periods of time  in the arid wilderness. After sitting on a plane for five hours I was desperate for a drink of water. My mouth was parched and I had a headache. A gallon of cool water trickling down my throat was all I could focus on.

Water, we take it for granted in the developed world. It is the most basic, the most fundamental  of man’s needs and necessary for human development and man’s survival, we crave it more than anything else on this earth. It makes up the majority of your body weight. We need it for cooking, agriculture, industry, electricity. A woman’s ‘waters’ break as she begins the process of labour.

The scarcity of available water has become a hot topic for debate across the world, contributing to conflict as this vital resource becomes  difficult to source for an ever increasing population.

There are 722 references to water in the Bible. Water streams through the pages of scripture and is often a metaphor for something else, but each reference is hugely significant and teaches  us so much in a spiritual sense. The first reference is in Genesis 1:20. “Let the water yield inexhaustibly the moving animal that hath life.” And the final reference is in Revelations, 22:17: “Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.” Throughout the Bible water is used to cleanse and heal, to wash away sin. Water is drawn from wells, from rocks. Samson nearly died of thirst but God opened up a hollow place and his strength returned. Across human cultures water has been used to communicate the sacred and gives profound mean to suffering and redemption.

As I walked through the airport in need of water I looked up at the mock western wall and remembered a passage from Zechariah, 14:8, “On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem”. Where could I buy water from? It wasn’t flowing here.

That first evening in Israel we kept returning to the importance of water. We were in touch with those people in the Bible, walking in their footsteps, sharing their concerns and challenges. Was it safe to drink from the tap? The jugged water in the restaurant?  Could we buy it on the coach or would we have to boil a kettle of water and let it cool overnight?

Next time you turn the tap on think of the spiritual significance as you watch the water flow! And if you want to bring the Bible to life I would recommend the Christian tour we went on to the Holy Land. Here is the link:

https://www.cmj-israel.org/shoresh-tours

My next travel novel, set in New England with beautiful descriptions of the landscape of Massachusetts, Cape Cod and Rhode Island is now out. It’s called ‘A Time To Reflect.’

 

Compulsive gambling is spiralling out of control

Compulsive gambling causes tears to everybody close to an addict

The government should do more to tackle the growing problem of compulsive gambling. It is just as much a public health issue as smoking and alcoholism and yet so little is done to tackle it. Today, the government have made a small, but significant move in that direction by opening the first NHS clinic for young people addicted to gaming and gambling, a year after the Gambling Commission found that 55,000 young people between 11 and 16 years old in the UK are problem gamblers.

But should the NHS be picking up the pieces? More should be done to penalise the big five betting firms. They should be footing the bill for the social mess they are creating, the stress, the suicides, the rise in family breakdown resulting from this hideous industry.

It was a bold move by Stewart Kenny, one of the founders of Paddypower to resign three years ago from the company’s board in frustration over failure of senior management to properly tackle problem gambling. The companies on the high street and on line have a responsibility to their users.

My latest book ‘Gambling Broke Us’ is a drama about a gambling addict and highlights the issues faced by addicts, what it’s like to live with this addiction and the impact on family. It’s FREE to read on Kindle Unlimited.

Here is the link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gambling-Broke-Us-moving-family-ebook/dp/B07NDY1M4R/

My thoughts on the Holy Land

Woman reading the Torah

When most people think of a holiday in the Mediterranean they think of Spain, Italy or Greece, but head further east and there’s a destination that doesn’t instantly spring to mind: Israel. Amid cries of alarm from friends that this was a dangerous place to visit I wanted to explore this great land of ancient people and follow in the footsteps of great figures in the Bible – Abraham, Moses and Jesus. Contrary to our widely held perception, Israel is not in a constant state of war but when the occasional bombings and fighting hit the news it’s easy to see why friends would be alarmed. It’s important to keep safe and follow advice. Sometimes the police will stop your vehicle to check your passport and reasons for being in the country. Just cooperate and you’ll be fine. For good reasons, security is tight.

Arriving in Tel Aviv we were met by our Shoresh Study Tour guide who scared us with a dreadful story about a friend of hers, a guide at the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, Kay Wilson who was stabbed multiple times in a forest and witnessed the murder of her friend. In court, their attackers said they’d woken that morning wanting to kill a Jew. What kind of sick world do we live in? Kay survived against all odds but her story is chilling and a dreadful reminder that who we are and what you believe in can make us vulnerable and exposed. This barbaric act is symptomatic of the fact that sadly we live in a world where religious hatred still manifests itself.

Jerusalem is an intriguing city, a tangle of narrow cobbled alleyways that reminded me of the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. Jerusalem is a major pilgrimage site for Christians, Muslims and Jews who each see it as holy and significant to their faith. It’s unlike anywhere else in the world – religion stares at you, it’s raw, it’s real and it’s in your face. There’s no escaping it, everybody is making a statement by the way they dress and behave. If you doubt the existence of God as I do, going to Jerusalem will make you think. In the presence of so many believers, you can’t help wondering, is there something in this? Could there be truth to the Bible?  You are pressed up against religion. Religion never sleeps, wherever you look, wherever you go. You’ll hear the Muslim Call to Prayer and church bells at the same time. It’s bizarre. It’s a hotch-potch jumble rather like looking down the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland.

The city is divided into four areas and most of the time the four quarters live peacefully, side by side. On the first evening our tour guide said that if we got lost we’d know if we were in the Muslim quarter because of the lack of alcohol, the Christian quarter if there was both wine and beer, the Jewish quarter, all wine, and the Armenian quarter by the coffee or cognac.

Jerusalem is a multi-layered city of many different heights and depths. Remains dating to the Roman period have been discovered below street level, usually when somebody has a problem with their drains and so instead of fixing the pipes the archeologists are called.

Tourists flock to the Western Wall to watch Jews wailing. They were originally wailing for the fall of the temple in AD70 by the Romans. Today it is the holiest place for Jews to pray, a symbol of their faith because the wall remains intact. It is the closest place to the Temple Mount, which  is now the site of the mosque. It is the place where Abraham prepared his son Isaac for sacrifice to God. Prayers are said to rise up to heaven, and Jews, when they touch the wall cry out to God. It’s an incredible scene to watch. Never before have I witnessed such devotion to God. Young boys, teenage girls, mothers, old men and women were crying and reaching towards the wall and up to heaven. Their faces were contorted in the most desperate pain I’ve ever seen in another human being. I was transfixed. What was running through their minds? The suffering of their race? The destruction of the Temple? Being close to God? Being a non-Jew it was impossible for me to tell. On week-days we saw whole classes of school children praying and studying the Torah. The teacher wasn’t standing over them coaxing them along like they would be in UK classes. They weren’t chatting to friends, they weren’t distracted by their phones, they were crying onto the pages, swaying back and forth. Were they being brainwashed or taught to live their live according to God’s way, taught to learn independently? I watched a young mother reading the Torah while her baby and toddler lay at her feet crying because they were bored. Every now and again she looked up and smiled at them and chatted to them, but it was clear that her Bible was her focus. And in time it would be the same for her children. There was a Torah on a chair, I put it on the ground to sit on the chair and a woman picked it up, kissed it and scowled at me. I was the outsider, the heathen in this God fuelled mania.

I have a general rule; never to visit somewhere twice. The world is a big place. There are too many places to visit and such little time, but I might make an exception for Jerusalem. Even to me, a non believer, it felt incredibly special.

Thank you for reading. There will be another Israel blog next week.

 

The gambling timebomb

 

Watching ‘Love Island’ on  ITV with my gambling boyfriend and three teenagers I was struck by just how many gambling adverts there are on TV. I rarely watch TV, apart from BBC1 and so this was an eyeopener. The marketing budget of these firms must be huge. Caught in the grip of a gambling nightmare unfolding under my own roof with my boyfriend and his issues it saddened me to think that my children, innocently watching a programme they love are the next bate for this dreadful industry.

Today the UK’s biggest five gambling firms have agreed to contribute more money to fund treatment for problem gamblers. Compared to what they jointly make – a staggering £10 billion, the £60 million it has agreed to pledge is a drop in the ocean and only comes amid criticism on the industry to wake up and do something. It is quite frankly an insult to the countless families up and down the country crippled by this insidious illness because of partners who gamble.

We are on the precipice of a gambling epidemic, encouraged by the lack of regulation on this industry. The gambling industry needs to suffer the same fate that the alcohol and tobacco industry faced. There needs to be a complete ban on advertising across all medias and during sporting events.

I feel very angry today because of this latest news because I had to chuck away a perfectly lovely relationship a couple of days ago because my boyfriend wouldn’t stop gambling. Not even my love, support and a roof over his head could stop him. There were countless excuses as to why he needed to gamble – and we’re talking huge amounts here – 95% of his income – nothing was going to stop this addiction. Dumping him and his bags on the roadside back in the town where he’d come from was the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do. But living around an addict was like a scene from a Victorian milltown when some men fecklessly frittered all their money away in the pub. Money is the water of life; it’s impossible to get through life without money and I didn’t want to watch his money drain away into a machine when it could pay for bills, holidays and all the good times. It was truly agonising to watch and damned frustrating when there was nothing I could say or do to help.

The Government needs to wake up to this timebomb waiting to happen. There should be clinics in every large town and this should be paid for by the gambling industry. I don’t want to see the directors of these firms sunning themselves on board their luxury yachts in the south of France – I want to see them admit to the wrecking of lives, because indirectly they are causing poverty, divorce, loneliness, homelessness and suicide. Let’s make gambling the tobacco of tomorrow and say enough is enough.

Thank you for reading. My latest novel, ‘Gambling Broke Us’ is a novel all about this nasty illness.

Here is the link:

Part 4 The true story behind ‘Gambling Broke Us’

Barry’s addiction was so severe that he would gamble every last penny of his wages. It was the equivalent of crack cocaine addiction in its severity. Rent often didn’t get paid, electricity and council tax bills were owing. At times he had no money for food. His life was a mess, but all I saw was a genuinely lovely guy. I wanted him to get better. I never once bailed him out. I didn’t want to be the latest in a long line of girlfriends who’d bailed him out, feeding his addiction with handouts. Giving money to a gambler is like giving an alcoholic a bottle of whisky. It wasn’t the solution.

Sadly he continued to gamble despite making himself poorer and the situation was getting worse. It was very much an on-off relationship throughout this time with longer and longer gaps because he didn’t stop gambling. Unable to pay his rent and with debts mounting he panicked and asked me if he could come to stay when he was evicted in March. ‘Prove you can stop,’ I told him. ‘If you pay the next two amounts of rents you owe you can come and I’ll help you get over the addiction.’ I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but I’d promised. When he gambled again  I was secretly relieved. There was no way I could take on his problems. I didn’t have the emotional strength for it. He needed professional help.

I kept a distance after that, there was nothing more I could do. The date of his eviction came but we were still in contact despite my resolve to move on from him. I asked him several times that day, ‘what the hell are you going to do?’ He seemed so calm, his usual cheerful self but I was worried. ‘I haven’t made any decisions yet.’ Talk about laid back. He was horizontal.

I told a couple of friends about his eviction and they said, ‘leave him to it. Nothing more you can do. You don’t need his problems. You can do better than that. Plenty more men out there. He’s only got himself to blame.’ In the evening I asked him again where he was staying and he still didn’t know. He was borrowing a van from a friend and I guessed he was planning to sleep in the back of the van but I didn’t ask him. On a whim, without really thinking of the consequences I suggested he come to stay with me for the night so that he could work something out in the morning.

An hour later he arrived and opening my door I found myself staring at a living corpse. He’d lost so much weight. I hadn’t seen him in a couple of months. His face and neck were thin and hugging him it was clear the weight had dropped from his shoulders and waist.

The following day he announced that he wasn’t going into work. He wasn’t up to it. ‘I’m in no fit state to work today. And I need to find somewhere to live.’

I panicked. Childless for the week I’d set it aside to get on with some writing and was looking forward to peace and my space. He’d lose his job, sit around my house for weeks acting like a slob while I worked out a way to get rid of him.

‘If you’re staying here for a few days,’ I told him, ‘you need to work. And you won’t find a room unless you keep earning. Why don’t you try and get a transfer up this way, just till you’ve got enough money for a deposit and first month’s rent.’

He organised a transfer and I started taking him into work each day, horribly early, a 20-minute journey away.

‘And I’m going to lay down some ground rules. No gambling. I may have tolerated it while we were dating but I don’t want it going on under my roof. Sorry to be brutal but if you gamble, you’re out. And I want you to transfer all your wages to me next time you get paid, to stop you gambling. I’ll help you save. We can do this.’

I had to be brutal and uncompromising. There was no other way and I’d had enough of excuses why he couldn’t quit and at the end of the day it was up to him. If he wanted to enough then I figured he would. To begin with we aimed to get enough money put by for rent but as the weeks went by both of us knew, without really talking about it that we liked living together. He is easy to live with, calm, relaxing, always cheerful – the first time I’ve truly felt contented, which is bizarre given his circumstances. Once the target was reached there were other things he needed to save for before finally tackling the mountain of debts that was causing him so much aggravation and stress leading him into the betting shop to sort the mess, time and again. The cycle had to be broken and being away from the stress was helping him to stop.

It may not last between us, nothing is guaranteed in this life, particularly where relationships are concerned, but nothing lost is nothing gained. If we always walk away from tough relationships we’ll never experience what true love is. Two people working to overcome difficulties is better than one person sinking alone. At least if it doesn’t work there’s a book out there, ‘Gambling Broke Us’ https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gambling-Broke-Us-moving-family-ebook/dp/B07NDY1M4R/  a stark reminder of some of the struggles he faced and many indeed face up and down the country; a prompt to politicians that something needs to be done to tackle this growing epidemic.

Thank you for reading my 4 part blog about the inspiration behind my new book ‘Gambling Broke Us’ which I hope you’ll enjoy. It’s just £1.99 on kindle or free on Kindle Unlimited.

And if you are affected by gambling you may find these links helpful:

https://www.gamblingtherapy.org/en

https://www.begambleaware.org/gambling-problems/do-i-have-a-gambling-problem/

 

Part 2 of Joanna’s candid blog about the true story behind ‘Gambling Broke Us.’

The day after our first date I suggested to him that it would be a nice idea to write about our first date. He enjoys creative writing too and liked the idea.

‘Neither of us know if this will go anywhere but what if we each write our version of the day.’ My favourite novel, ‘Us’ by David Nicholls is written is from the woman’s viewpoint, then the man’s viewpoint in interchangeable chapters on each event that happens and my first two novels are written in this way.

When you date somebody it’s hard to remember how you felt on that first date; what captured you about that person, all of the intangible things that make you attracted to them and the hazy fog of relationships when things turn sour. We soon forget how we felt in those early days. Weeks later we exchanged our pieces of writing and I used them in writing ‘Gambling Broke Us.’ Comparing our accounts I was surprised to learn that both of us felt a strong spark when we were sitting in the pub in The Meads and that elusive chemistry you can’t define.

We met on the pier in Hastings on our second date and as soon as I saw him my heart fluttered. He took my arm and we strolled along the pier, recently renovated after a fire. When I was a teenager my parents took us to Hastings most weekends. My dad took black and white photos of buildings and people in the Old Town. He became a very successful amateur photographer winning competitions across the country and giving speeches on his work. my mum was an artist and painted in oils, beach scenes with old boats and the black smoking sheds, iconic to Hastings. To can see some of her paintings on my funeral celebrant website at https://beautifulfuneralsussexkent.co.uk   

Hastings holds a special fondness for me and hasn’t changed much in years. Looking out to sea from the pier with Barry we shared our memories of the town.

We both love live music and he suggested meeting in Hastings to see a local Brit-pop band who write all their own music, Alibi, at The Palace. Hastings has a vibrant music scene and this was to be the first of several dates to hear live gigs. We both loved Alibi and sat on a grubby settee at the back of the grungily dressed crowd snogging our faces off.

Shortly after the second date I logged into my Facebook account and saw that Barry had been through my photos, liking posts going back years. I was flattered that he was taking an interest in my life, wanting to get to know me, but part of me thought, well blow you, two of us can play that game. So I scrolled through endless photos of football matches and screenshots of inspirational quotes. There were no holiday snaps, no days. He was either a very private person or he led a dull life. Bored with so much about football, about to give up and return to the newsfeed, something caught my eye. I stopped in my tracks and froze, heart thudding in my chest.

Go to part 3:

https://joannawarringtonauthor-allthingsd.co.uk/writing/part-3-of-true-story-behind-new-book-gambling-broke-us/

Link to my new book ‘Gambling Broke Us’:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gambling-Broke-Us-moving-family-ebook/dp/B07NDY1M4R/

If you are affected by gambling you may find the following links helpful:

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/drug-addiction-getting-help/

https://www.begambleaware.org/gambling-problems/do-i-have-a-gambling-problem/

 

Part 3 of true story behind new book ‘Gambling Broke Us’

I waited until the end of our third date to ask him about the post I’d seen on Facebook. The third date, in Lewes was going so well I didn’t want to spoil it. We had a few drinks and a meal I paid for with Tesco vouchers, again sensing he had money problems and by now guessing that he was unemployed. I wanted to make things easier for him.

Sipping our last drink, at The White Hart I finally plucked up the courage. This wasn’t something I could ignore, I had to know the truth.

‘I saw something on your Facebook. Do you have a problem I should know about?’

‘Yes, I’m a compulsive gambler,’ came his upfront reply without the briefest of pauses, as if glad to get it out of the way.

I didn’t want this to be our last date and wanted to hear that he was dealing with his addiction and that it was behind him.

‘You should probably walk away,’ he said, matter of factly.

‘Why didn’t you tell me before? Were you even going to tell me? How long did you think you could keep that to yourself?’ I felt so let down, conned even.

‘We were getting on so well, it never seemed to be the right time, but I was going to.’

‘How serious is it?’

‘I haven’t gambled since August,’ he lied.

I should have walked away at that point but he led me to believe that he was controlling it and I had strong feelings for him and wanted to help him. The more he talked an idea hatched in my mind for a next novel. I didn’t know anything about gambling addiction and was intrigued to find out more. A niggling worry entered my mind. I knew that I would never be able to trust him. What if he stole money from my bag? Or worse, stole my details and applied for a credit card? But as time went on and I learned more about gambling addiction I realised that you can’t label all gamblers as thieves. Each person is an individual with their own unique story and their own morals. There’s a lot of fear and scaremongering surrounding gambling addiction – most gamblers are perfectly safe around other peoples’ money.

It wasn’t easy dating a gambler though, I’ll admit that, as you will find out in ‘Gambling Broke Us.’ https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gambling-Broke-Us-moving-family-ebook/dp/B07NDY1M4R/  But at the back of my mind just live for the moment, enjoy his company, but move on one day when you get fed up with it. I accepted that I’d be footing the bill when we went out, but that was fine, I didn’t mind, we just wouldn’t spend very much and would avoid expensive dates. At the end of the day I was never going to live with this guy. How could I? I wouldn’t be able to trust him and what sort of start would that be? He’d sink me if I let him.

Thank you for reading!

Go to Part 4 of blog:

https://joannawarringtonauthor-allthingsd.co.uk/writing/part-4-the-true-story-behind-gambling-broke-us/

Link to ‘Gambling Broke Us’

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gambling-Broke-Us-moving-family-ebook/dp/B07NDY1M4R/

If you are affected by gambling you may find the following links helpful:

https://www.begambleaware.org/gambling-problems/do-i-have-a-gambling-problem/

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/gambling-addiction/

 

 

 

Author of new book ‘Gambling Broke Us’ makes a surprising confession

When I met a guy online, arranging to meet on Eastbourne seafront one sunny Saturday a couple of years ago, little did I know that he would be the inspiration for my next novel. He was a web designer, at least that’s what it said on his profile. But in the coming weeks ahead the persona of successful businessman and entrepreneur was shattered, as I began to find out, little by little about the shadier side to his life and as the weeks went by I knew that the destructive side to his life had to be told. It was a story of great interest.

Reading my Kindle on a bench overlooking the sea his shadow stepped in front of me blocking the sun. They say that you make up your mind about someone in the first few minutes of meeting and that was certainly the case with Barry. He was slim, good looking with a warm, friendly smile and instantly likeable. As we strolled towards the cafe the conversation felt relaxed and unlike so many men I’ve met, he wasn’t bombarding me with his own life, wasn’t an arrogant bragging type, but instead asked lots of questions and seemed genuinely interested in my life. Later on, I realised why this was. He was trying to deflect from his own life. He didn’t want to scare me off. The thread between us, in those early days, was as fragile as a spider’s web.

Slipping into easy chat we walked along the seafront towards the next cafe where we had a cheese toastie. The seafront was a riot of bloated seagulls screeching around our table, children on scooters whizzing past, everybody sunning themselves before autumn set in. I often wonder, if the weather had been terrible that day would we have met at all?

The hours flew by. We talked about anything and everything. Passing a stand along the shopping parade a salesman stepped out in front of Barry. I don’t know what he was selling but Barry waved him away with a laugh, ‘sorry mate, I’ve got zero credit rating.’ I thought he was joking to get rid of the salesman so I asked what he meant and found out that he’d been made bankrupt several years ago. I won’t go into why he was made bankrupt, those details will remain private, but I remember feeling very shocked and this was my first alarm bell of the day. Being made bankrupt suggested to me a level of recklessness, poor planning, someone who can’t handle their accounts or make proper business decisions. I’ve always been careful with money, I’m risk averse and being with someone like this long term wouldn’t be for me. In fact, I found the idea scary. If they could sink themselves, they’d sink me with them. But the sun and the sea and the salient conversation kissed my concerns away. I asked him lots of questions about what had happened and why he’d been made bankrupt and piecing things together it made some sense to me. The events in his life at that time were desperately sad and gave me some understanding of why it had happened.

From that point on I had the impression that he was struggling for money, or still recovering from the bankruptcy so I offered to pay for lunch. When he didn’t protest I knew my suspicions were correct. He didn’t tell me that he was broke, he didn’t need to, I just knew that he was. But I was warming to him and that wasn’t going to put me off.

It was past eleven when we left the cosy pub nestled in the Meads village and began the walk down the hill towards my car. My hand slipped into his and I knew we’d meet again. In my head, I was planning to cancel a weekend away with a friend the following weekend. It’s important to keep the momentum going when you first meet someone and clear your diary. We stopped to look at the full moon making a milky pathway across the inky sea through the evergreens. This part of Eastbourne is so beautiful and it was a perfect evening. It was a romantic moment but we didn’t kiss. Weeks later we both said we’d wanted to but kissing wasn’t for first dates.

Our first date is in ‘Gambling Broke Us.’ It was the best first date I’ve ever had.

Thank you for reading part 1 of this 4 part blog about Barry and me, the inspiration for the book. You can read the novel FREE on Kindle Unlimited or it’s £1.99 on Amazon and also in paperback on Amazon.

This is a 4 part blog. Here is the link to part 2:

https://joannawarringtonauthor-allthingsd.co.uk/writing/part-2-of-joannas-candid-blog-about-the-true-story-behind-gambling-broke-us/

 

Link to ‘Gambling Broke Us’:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gambling-Broke-Us-moving-family-ebook/dp/B07NDY1M4R/

If you are affected by gambling you may find the following links helpful:

https://www.begambleaware.org/gambling-problems/do-i-have-a-gambling-problem/

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/drug-addiction-getting-help/

The Brexit Betrayal

On the day that we were supposed to leave the EU, they came in their droves from all corners of the country, congregating outside the seat of power that they entrusted their faith in to deliver the wishes of 17.4 million people. They came with their Union Jacks, fluttering in the light breeze, they carried a coffin labeled democracy and the liberty bell tolled.

It didn’t matter who we were, whether we were on the Left or on the Right, we were united in our ambition for a better Britain, a Britain free from the clutches of the EU. We were angry because our ambition has been destroyed by a treacherous government bent on destroying democracy. Our Remain Parliament are not for the people. They have plotted to destroy Brexit. In Mark Francois’ words, ‘what part of no Prime Minister, don’t you understand?’

The crowds were electric. Weaving my way through the crowds I heard all sorts of fiery conversations and rants. Every conversation was emotive although there were plenty simply enjoying a day out in the sun with a picnic. It was clear that we all felt the same. One man pointed his finger at Parliament and shouted, ‘make a decision you idiots.’ Somebody shouted through a loudspeaker, She’s a liar, she told us we were getting out.’ Between gulps of beer a toothless man from Essex shouted, ‘The people with money aren’t interested in the likes of us. Why did they bother to give us a vote?’

‘This is the one time people get off their arses,’ said a Welshman with a dragon tattoed across his fat leg, ‘and they take no notice.’ ‘Remainers are full of shit,’ shouted another man.

The event felt about much more than just Brexit. Our democracy is in trouble. There were ripples of revolutionary rumblings from the crowd. There was revolutionary fever in the air, from the Communists to the Far Right. This was about the ordinary people pitted against the elite, anger that democracy has collapsed. One speaker read Cromwell’s speech so relevant today. In the words of Kate Hoey MP at the event, ‘this evening we celebrate a fight back. ‘We are howling with rage,’ said Clare Fox, ‘we’ve been trampled on as if we do not matter.’ The crowds were dynamic and one woman   shouted towards Parliament, ‘Parliament is a cesspit, not a chamber.’

We have been called all sorts of names as Mark Francois said, from Nazis to vermin. I won’t deny that there weren’t nasty thugs from the Far Right in the crowds. I came across a horrible placard with a caption, ‘Fuck Islam,’ and shouting, ‘we’ll have a fucking Muslim in power soon and they’ll be building mosques everywhere and the call to prayer will blast from Big Ben.’ Thankfully these nasty elements were in the minority but sadly they give us a bad name.

There are lots of remainers, as one speaker said, who respect the outcome of the referendum but thousands who don’t and they are not democrats. They want a second referendum because they are poor losers and think they know best.

May is a traitor but Farage has also betrayed us. He walked away after the Referendum. We needed him to see the process through. I shouted in his direction as he spoke. ‘You fucking walked away. Come back and finish the job.’

Our battle to be heard will go on. We won the referendum. May is a liar, she told us Brexit means Brexit. We should have left today. We will not go away. We will not be slammed down. Our MPs don’t listen to their voters and should be sacked.