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Angelena Boden

Angelena Boden

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No Sex please, We're Married

Sex can be a lot of work. There’s so much stuff involved. Leg shaving, bikini waxing and what about all that ooo-ing and ahhhh-ing to sap the oxygen out of the lungs? Then there’s the warm up that seems more like a complicated game of twister. Foot this way, hand that way, head between legs – and as for all that tweaking, twizzling and nibbling – it’s blooming exhausting!

No wonder more married couples are opting for happy, cuddly, celibacy over a bowl of chocolate ice cream meant solely for eating. Thing is, nobody talks about a sexless marriage. If the bedroom chandeliers are not hanging off their wires, then it’s a failure on all fronts, or rears. We’ll admit to anything, but no sex? Never. We’d rather confess to extra-marital affairs or swinging parties than crisp white sheets with only crisp crumbs to show we’ve lain on them. 

Lust gets boring after a while. I’d rather go to bed with an apple and a copy of Dante’s Inferno. In Latin. The bliss of separate beds, bedrooms or even houses does not mean the fun has gone. Far from it. Love Skyping, or FaceApping can still be thrilling even when your once Olympic –level gymnast partner is mountaineering in deepest Wales.

Not that you will care what this crusty old woman has to say, but I think it’s about time the big magazines pulled up their Big Pants and ran real life stories on this wicked behaviour. #celibacyrocks

Ok, there are some of you out there, going at it as if the world is about to end ( as it very well might at the time of writing this) and if the infamous “Last Fling of the Ovary” is to be believed, there could be some interesting results from this frantic replay of The Battle of the Little Bighorn.

But for many of us older marrieds, snuggling up on the sofa to watch a rom-com, (providing there’s nothing yucky in it), is preferable to having to dream up excuses about hoovering the cat before bedtime or emptying the loft.

There comes a stage in life when sex is no longer the cornerstone of a relationship, but an annoying little cockroach sneaking out from the cracks. You side-glance it and hope it will go away.

I suppose it is a teeny bit strange that low or no libido types don’t share the urges or interest of the rest of the planet, but have managed to produce a sprog or two, but then it’s nobody else’s business. Neither should it be something to be ashamed off. I’m not interested in shagging. So what?

There may well be a host of physical and psychological reasons why celibacy is better for a couple, but that’s not under discussion here.

On a final note, at the time of writing this, the Russian consumer health watchdog has advised people to avoid kissing and hugging to avoid the spread of the corona virus (COVID-19). They don’t even have any cases of infection, but best to be on the safe side, eh?. It’s a good spin on the tired, old excuse, of “Not tonight, I’ve got a headache”, not that I’ve ever understood what role the head plays in nightly romps. But then, I’ve never been interested enough to ask.

On a less cynical note, it’s soon Valentines’ Day. For me, that doesn’t mean forced roses or saccharine cards with Gooey Eyed Teddy Bears on the front.

It means my new book, LOVE BYTES BACK is published and no, before you ask, it is not erotica! I wouldn’t be able to write that stuff for laughing! J

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THE HOPE VALLEY, PEAK DISTRICT, DERBYSHIRE

 Readers often ask me why I’ve chosen to set my Edna Reid Investigates books in the Hope Valley area of Derbyshire. (UK) 

  Here are three good reasons.

  1. Because it’s where I grew up. 

  2. Because the Peak District is one of the most beautiful parts of the country and 

   3. It gives me a good excuse to spend time up there doing my research and having a pub lunch in my favourite place, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, Castleton. 

  The Hope Valley is part of what is known as the Dark Peak because of the atmospheric gritstone moors, as opposed to the White Peak known for its limestone and rolling dales. 

 Potholers, trekkers, cyclists, hang-gliders and rock climbers are drawn to its challenging terrain in all weathers as well as its fascinating   Blue John caverns. 

 Winnats Pass is mentioned in my books. A steep, winding road cuts through the towering limestone cliffs and provides a spectacular backdrop to any “cosy crime”. Mam Tor, or Shivering Mountain as the locals call it, dominates the landscape and from here you can take the challenging walk to Losehill and down into the village of Hope, the setting for Love Bytes Back.  The fictitious St Hilda’s is based on Hope Parish Church with its splendid Saxon cross. 

 There are plenty of pubs, cafes and restaurants for when you need a well-deserved break from rambling, and my favourite place to stop is nearby Hathersage with its open air lido and a church famous for its brass rubbings. It’s a busy village with strong literary connections. 

 Charlotte Bronte was a regular visitor and included it in her writings. She probably chose the name Eyre (Jane) as it is local to the area. Its industrial past included the manufacture of pins and needles. 

  The Hope Valley line connects the area with Sheffield and Manchester and passes through some of the most stunning scenery. Rugged hillsides and dramatic cliff edges call intrepid walkers and climbers from all over the country. Be sure you have a good pair of boots and a backpack of necessities as the weather can be unpredictable. 

 Why do I love it so much? It connects me with my long-departed grandfather who used to take me to Surprise View, a spectacular viewpoint to watch sunrises and sunsets. It’s also an official Dark Skies spot for star gazing.

  There used to be an ice cream van every Sunday back in the sixties and, of course, I was always treated to whatever I fancied. 

   The Hope Valley is a place for all seasons but my favourite is winter when the snow frosts the peaks – gone are the days of heavy snowfalls of my childhood – and the skies burn with red and gold. I can see my grandad leaning over on one of the many five bar gates and gazing into the distance. He’d say, “You can travel the world but there’s nowt like Derbyshire, m’duck.’

  

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WOMEN AND GAMBLING

Back in the seventies, I got a job as a board marker in a bookies close to the place where I lived as a student. While most students I knew were doing some sort of bar or restaurant work, I spent Saturday afternoon in a smoky port-a- cabin, dog-ends littering the floor, listening to the horse and dog racing news coming through crackly speakers. 

 My job was to mark the racing odds on the pre-printed sheets as soon as the betting came in. You had to be nimble and on the ball at all times as the punters, all male, would be watching my every move. They were quick to point out if I made a mistake and as the race started, the tension mounted.  Whilst I saw many regulars, who always had a kind word to say to me, I can’t recall any real addicts. Just a few sad, lonely people looking for company and a boost to their income.

  There are a number of differences between gambling back in those days, compared with now. People had to make an effort to get to a physical location to place their bets whereas now they can gamble online. 

  Women were more into bingo than card games or horse racing.  I spent many evenings as either a ticket seller or a caller in the dark hallowed halls of the magic balls. It wasn’t so much about winning for these women, but having a social life – a chance to get out of the house for an evening and have fun. It was also self-limiting. 

 Gambling has taken on a new dimension and is showing its sinister side. You don’t have to leave the sofa to lose hundreds of pounds by tapping an App and it seems to be women who are getting hooked. 

 Some find it gives them a buzz – well of course it will. I find slotting pennies into the Penny Falls in an amusement arcade gives me a two second thrill but I know when to stop.

  Others, already depressed and anxious, maybe because of debt, see it as a way out of their problems. Because all gambling outlets are rigged against the punter, after the first euphoric win we call beginner’s luck, the only trajectory is down. 

 The fantasy of winning millions and starting afresh is just that – fantasy. Like Kitty Merriweather in my new book, Love Bytes Back, I’ve come across all sorts of lonely women comforting themselves with the odd flutter that becomes an addiction. Huge sums of money disappear into the greedy gob of online poker and before you know it, homes, relationships and families are lost to its powerful grip.

 According to GamCare, the national gambling helpline, the number of women gamblers is double that of men and 70% of women use Apps and websites so they can do it in secret. Women don’t go into shady betting shops, even in the twenty-first century, and I doubt I would have done if it had not been my job. Thankfully, I don’t have an addictive personality.

 I personally know of one woman who spent over a hundred thousand pounds on gambling. It was all she ever thought about – a bit like an alcoholic. Her debts mounted and she resorted to stealing. When she was caught, it was a huge relief as it meant she could get the help she was too ashamed to ask for. 

 Women who gamble occasional say they do it because it numbs emotional pain for a while. I guess it’s like retail therapy. You get the rush and forget about your struggles until reality hits home and maybe you end up taking most of the stuff back for a refund. That’s better than losing money for a quick mental health fix. 

 Some sites offer free bets for a period to hook you in. When you get a taste of any drug there is a strong chance you’ll want more and more. 

 If this blog has resonated with you, contact Gamblers Anonymous and or Gam Care.  Don’t feel ashamed. It can happen to anyone. Remember, you deserve to be free. 

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Don't Get Catfished!

I’d never heard of the term until I watched a TV programme about it. If you don’t know what it is either, here’s the Wiki definition.

Catfishing is a type of deceptive activity where a person creates a sock puppet social networking presence, or fake identity on a social network account, usually targeting a specific victim for abuse, deception, or fraud. Catfishing is often employed for romance scams on dating websites.

Another term is “Love Bombing-” a slighter milder version of the same, by which someone attempts to influence an individual by demonstrations of attention and false affection.

Whatever it’s called, it’s scamming at its worst because it not only targets the wallet but more destructively, the heart. Scammers trawl the internet looking for the most vulnerable. Widows, divorcees, singles and even lonely marrieds who are desperate to find someone to show them some affection.

Fake profiles are posted on dating sites by stealing pictures of attractive, star-like individuals and adding them to their outrageous claims of being wealthy business people, lonely men in the military, devoted fathers who need money for a child’s operation and so it goes on. They can hook you via social media – I’ve had dozens of Direct Messages on Twitter – via your email or website, Tinder and even Skype and it’s easy to get taken in if you’ve got a soft heart.

When researching for my new novel, LOVE BYTES BACK, I was shocked to discover that procuring someone else’s picture for your personal profile is not illegal! What is illegal if that is used to scam people out of money. Sorry, but that seems very muddled to me.

How do you know if you’re talking to a love scammer and how can you protect yourself?

  • Ask them to call you on the phone. If they make excuses, they are probably not who they say they are. DUMP.
  • If they want to move the chat off the dating site and onto something like WhatsApp, be very suspicious. They want to avoid the dating site getting wise to their scam.
  • Their profile is too good to be true.
  • They ask for small amounts of money to start with – phone top ups and promise to pay it back. They often ask for Amazon gift cards and not direct bank transfers. SAY NO and DUMP.
  • Many scams are operating from overseas. Workers are paid a pittance to read from a badly written script. When I nearly got caught in a scam, I was called “sweaty pie” (and not sweetie pie.). Red flag warning!
  • Finally, never, ever, ever, send money. Not one penny. If you think your bank account has been compromised because of something you said, report it immediately.
  • Contact Action Fraud then go out and breathe a sigh of relief. You didn’t get catfished.

Find out what happens to Kitty Merriweather when she meets the charming Harvey online in Love Bytes Back. Just £1.99 ebook.

OUT FEBRUARY 14th –on Amazon Kindle  

 

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