Friends

31 August 2013

Saturday Special

Richard and Adam Johnson, the singing brothers, didn't win the last Britain's Got Talent contest, much to my dismay. 

29 August 2013

PACKAGE OF ODDMENTS

Starting with a bit of humour from our Faye

WOMAN STOPS GATOR ATTACK WITH PISTOL

This is a story of self control and marksmanship by a brave, cool-headed woman with a small pistol against a fierce predator. What is the smallest calibre that you would trust to protect yourself?

A Beretta Jet fire testimonial.

Here is her story:
While out walking along the edge of  a bayou just below Houma, Louisiana  with my soon to be ex-husband discussing property settlement and other divorce  issues, we were surprised by a huge 12-ft. alligator that suddenly emerged  from the murky water and charging us with its large jaws wide open. She must have been protecting her nest because she was extremely aggressive.  If I had not had my little Beretta Jet fire .25 calibre pistol with me I would not be here today!

Just one shot to my estranged husband’s knee cap was all it took. The gator got him easily and I was able to escape by just walking away at a brisk pace. It's one of the best pistols in my collection! Plus ... the amount I saved in lawyer’s fees was more than worth the purchase price of the gun.

August has been quiet month for me. No WI and no TG (that’s Women’s Institute and Townswomen’s Guild) as those organisations allow us to have a month free of meetings. Although appreciating that committees need time to refresh themselves and their ideas, some members feel that two months is a long time to go without something to take their minds off their particular boredom.

What is boredom? I don’t seem to have time for such a thing and even if I’m not ultra-busy I still don’t get bored. After my four-year stint as County Chairman of the WI, I relished the time out and now have no ambition to take on more responsibility. I like to spend time doing those constructive things I wasn’t able to do when I was busy.  However, many members are quite elderly, some without family, some too frail to take up a hobby, and some with nowhere to go but the once-monthly meeting at WI or TG. For their sake I wish there were more meetings or lunches or afternoon teas. Unfortunately we can’t be all things to all men women, can we?

Of course, I have been out and about, shopping, eating out etc, and it has been noticeably quiet everywhere. Kids off school and many workers still on holiday. I drove to the mall the other day and parked in the multi-story. Look at the picture, I was the only one there. That’s how quiet it's been.'

If it wasn’t for the lovely robin and one or two neighbours plus lunch with a friend, I wouldn’t have seen much of the outside world. It has got now that robin waits for me every day when I go out to feed the birds. When he sees me coming he waits by the bird table which is situated in a recess between bushes. I found out that he likes the little pink strips of suet that are mixed in with the seed, so I sort out a few big ones for him. So far he has refused to take them from the hand but he doesn’t fly off when I throw them to the ground.

Did you know that it’s 74 years since the invention of the nylon stocking ? I wonder how long it will take to find a cure for feet.

On the subject of feet, did you know that the foot is made up of 26 bones and 23 muscles, a complicated structure designed to take the pressure of three times the body weight with every step. A surprising fact is that the average person takes about 18,000 steps per day. Apparently we walk an average of 70,000 miles in a lifetime ... that’s almost four times around the globe. With every mile we walk we shift approximately one hundred tons (the weight of a blue whale) just to move our own bodyweight forward. Ever wondered why you often feel tired?

The insects in the garden have had a go at biting me to death but apart from giving me bouts of serious itching they didn’t succeed in their ultimate quest. I had a similar episode about three years ago but nothing since. Three years ago the summer came early – in March – and lasted about six weeks or more. It was heaven. Then we had lousy summers for a couple of years, and no bites, but this year it’s been great weather – hence the bites. Wouldn’t you think, with all the juicy fruit and berries plus the nectar in pollen the insects would want to eat something more tasty than Moi? And why me when other people seem to get away without a single bite?

Whilst on the subject of gardening, how about this apparently true snippet:

A recording of Happy Birthday drove a troublesome mole from its garden home. A local gardener removed the musical unit from a cheap birthday card, tied a string to it and buried it under the turf. There were some problems with a cat moving it and a neighbour complaining about the noise, but during the week-long battery life the mole did go.

Finally... something to think about.

Getting older gives you licence to believe...
                        ... that mistakes of your youth were character building.

27 August 2013

An Irish Tale (repeat)

Donna told us the tale during our extended lunch break, extended because the boss was away playing golf. Donna McNamara was the cleaning lady in the offices of the building firm where we worked. Congregating in the rest room, away from telephones and other interruptions, my fellow secretaries and a couple of clerks would settle down with our sandwiches and a drink, prepared to hear the latest of her Irish tales.

Donna was a great one for reminiscing. Considering her age she had a perfect memory. After she’d finished her cleaning duties she would put away her dusters and hang around until she felt the coast was clear. Then she would saunter to the middle of the office and announce that she had another story to tell about her in-laws. She could tell an amusing story when she chose and the ones about Jeff’s family were certainly that. The mere mention of her in-laws had us scurrying to the rest room to sort out the chairs.  

But to start at the beginning….

Donna and Jeff went to Ballycastle, in Northern Ireland, to attend the wedding of Jeff’s sister Maureen and Patrick O’Leary. It looked like being a solemn affair but after a sombre religious ceremony things really hotted up.  For a start, Patrick and his brothers drank whiskey as if their lives depended on it. Illicit stuff, or so we were told. Patrick claimed it was brewed in Bushmills but if that was the case Donna couldn’t imagine his very strict and upright father allowing it through his front door. Of course that was a very long time ago.

Maureen looked splendid in white. The billowing skirt successfully hid the reason for a rushed wedding and a sizeable bouquet provided the finishing touch. It was a huge collection of seasonal pink and white flowers with lots of draping ivy that threatened to hide the dress altogether. Maureen needn’t have worried that her pregnancy showed. She looked like a princess as she walked up the aisle of the ancient church on the arm of her proud father, Paddy McNamara, himself wearing a huge smile. Sitting in the family pew Donna wondered if he actually knew he was about to become a granddaddy.

Patrick the bridegroom wore a stiff collar and a stiff back. Earlier his father said he looked as if he’d been strapped to a railway girder but Mrs O’Leary argued that he was simply a proud man. Mr O’Leary snorted and begged to differ. He claimed that his son was over-acting; adding insult to injury with the remark that no man in his right mind looked happy on his wedding day. Patrick seemed to take it all in good part and certainly there was no malice written on his face as he waited for Maureen to reach the altar.

It was an attractive couple of newly-weds that posed for photographs in the church grounds. With family cheering them on they kissed for the regulation picture, only breaking apart when the photographer gave the say-so. Donna said her tears welled up as she recalled her own wonderful wedding to the bride’s brother two years before.

The marquee which had been installed in a neighbouring farmer’s field was filled to capacity.
The tables were placed in an E shape so that the guests could easily see the happy couple. They could also see the bridesmaids and were able to witness the amount of drink that passed the best man lips. Alex was his name, better known as Bluey on account of his fingers. Donna explained that farmers in those days had to crop spray by hand and Alex took it literally, managing to get blue spray on his fingers as well as the crops.

The amount Alex had to drink was the reason he came close to giving the game away. He was at the end of a slurred but humorous speech about the bridegroom’s possible inadequacies as a husband when he suddenly called for a toast, lifting his own glass and begging them to give three cheers to the happy threesome.’ Fortunately by this time, relieved that the speech was over, the well-oiled guests burst into tumultuous applause and cheering so the blunder was lost. 

After the reception family and friends headed to the McNamara cottage situated alongside the narrow-gauge railway. The bride’s parents squeezed in Jeff’s little car, Dad in front and Mam and Donna squashed in the back with the leather holdall full of wedding gifts. Donna wasn’t on really friendly terms with her mother-in-law and she had to force herself not to complain about the wafts of alcohol that drifted from the front passenger seat. Mother wasn’t too bad although she’d had more than enough of the hard stuff. Donna guessed she’d started earlier than the wedding itself. 

Now, according to Donna, Mam-in-law wasn’t a drinker but she did need her nerves soothing at the thought of her daughter marrying an O’Leary. The accident by the railway tracks hadn’t helped. Dad-in-law had gone out very early in the morning to get a load of peat for the fire but the overloaded wheelbarrow hit a stone, overturned, and sent clods of peat all over the rails. He’d had to trek back to the cottage to get help clearing it away before the next train came along. The trains didn’t run very frequently which was as well because it took him and two neighbours to sort it out. And then he had to get back home, change into his wedding outfit and hope to God his daughter wouldn’t throw a tantrum.

That wasn’t the only catastrophe. Finishing his shave by the kitchen sink Paddy dropped shaving cream all down the white shirt. Another task for his poor wife who was slowly losing  patience.

But the worst was yet to come. Paddy was in such a rush to get changed that he shoved his leg in his wedding trousers so hard it tore a hole where a hole shouldn’t be. Of course, Mam-in-law had to set to and get it mended, hoping against hope that the hire shop wouldn’t notice when the suit was returned.

Nothing untoward happened at the party except, as already stated, Patrick and his brothers got very merry with the drink while poor Maureen tried her best not to nag. She commented to Donna she thought it was a little early in the marriage to start asserting herself. That wasn’t Donna’s opinion … she told us girls that she’d have had Patrick’s head on a block before he could say I’ll have another. Actually we always wondered why old Jeff was such a quiet soul.

It wasn’t until the do wound down and the happy couple had left for their unknown destination that Mam-in-law decided to fill the Kelly lamps in the kitchen. She didn’t want late evening to descend and find they were unprepared. There were three lamps altogether. They hung from the ceiling, one near the window wall and two either side of the big black range. That’s where Donna sat, on a well-worn horsehair couch long enough to accommodate three people.

Mam-in-law sang as she worked. Humming a few bars of Danny Boy, she leapt onto the couch, beside Donna, then leapt down to fill the lamp over by the sink. Jeff cautioned her to be careful but didn’t pursue it when she gave him a scornful look. Job complete, she returned to secure it on an enormous hook in one of the black beams. When all three were done, she settled on her chair by the range and went back to her whiskey.

The four of them had a bit of a sing-song and Dad-in-law told stories about Maureen’s growing up days, occasionally shedding a few sentimental tears. Donna helped Mam-in-law get supper ready, setting the table, silently wishing she could go to bed instead. She was tired after the hectic day and anyway the wedding had put her in the mood for a bit of canoodling with Jeff. She knew by the look in his eyes that he felt the same. But it didn’t do to be rude to his family so she ate beetroot sandwiches and tried to concentrate on more reminiscences about Maureen and Jeff.

Jeff thought differently. After another hour of football talk he nudged her and suggested they retire for the night.  She hastily agreed and was just about to rise from the couch when she felt an awful pain in the head. She screeched, Jeff shouted, his Mam cried ‘Sure and Begorrah, I’ve done it now,’ while Dad rushed over to grab the Kelly lamp that had fallen from its hook.

A great fuss was made of Donna with Mam-in-law repeatedly saying how sorry she was, trying to make amends for what she called her lackadaisical approach to filling lamps. Even after they had the gas installed she never ceased trying to put things right. In a strange way the accident cemented the relationship between Mam and daughter-in-law. You could say it had broken the ice … the hard way and, as one of the clerks said, it was mother-in-law trouble of the first order. 

25 August 2013

Sunday Scenes

A MISHMASH OF PICTURES

Dedicated to MOI! How nice is that
considering I wasn't even born then!
You go your way and I'll go mine!
I like the solitary feel to this picture!
Now that's the sort of a grass cutting machine I like
Don't go, Mister, I want a ride on your machine
Steadily looming bridge
Steady on, there's a car coming!
Waiting!

24 August 2013

PAULWHITTAKER OBE

PAUL WHITTAKER OBE

“Paul Whittaker was born in Huddersfield in 1964 and has been deaf all his life. He plays the piano and organ and has also trained choirs. Paul has a music degree from Oxford University, a post-graduate diploma from the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, and in 2007 was awarded an OBE for Services to Music.

For 18 years Paul was a theatre interpreter and in 2010 gave the first ever signed performance at the BBC Proms – “Sondheim at 80.” Paul continues to work with the Edinburgh International Festival, Rambert Dance Company and The Sixteen choir.

As Music and the Deaf’s Artistic Director Paul is responsible for the creative and artistic development of the charity. For the past 4 years he has been very involved in Sing Up, of which Music and the Deaf was a flagship organisation, encouraging people to both sing and sign and creating signed song resources.”

The above extract was taken from Music and the Deaf  website



Paul Whittaker is an incredible man, full of fun, and adored by all. Most of the WI Federations invite him to speak at their yearly council meetings, mine included. I had seen him several times before and decided that it was a must to get him to speak to my members.

Bookings, of course, were made through the Music and the Deaf office but imagine my surprise when Paul himself rang me at home to check the arrangements. It seemed strange to be talking to a profoundly deaf man but it turned out that he was reading everything I said on a screen.  He made some joke about it which I’ve now forgotten but I do remember we ended up laughing. He’s that kind of man, always puts people at ease.

On the day of our Council Meeting he arrived with his translator friend who I will refer to as Dan because I forget his real name. He was a nice guy with a great sense of humour as you will see later. They had been invited to lunch before the afternoon session but were late arriving.

Lunch was taken in a private room and usually included the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress, other dignitaries, invited guests and speakers, all in their best gear or uniform. Paul and Dan arrived towards the end of the meal, both dressed in tee-shirts (with logo) and jeans. Paul said to me ‘Goodness, looks like I’m overdressed.’

After lunch Paul was introduced to the women and he began his talk from the stage. Because of his deafness, his speech was slightly distorted but we understand him alright. He talked about his childhood and how he learned to cope with deafness, again with that thread of humour running through, and then described his involvement with Music and the Deaf. He played the piano, which went down well with the audience, and ‘sang’ by signing. Watching him signing was not only interesting, it was really moving and quite emotional. From my position on the stage I could see one or two members dabbing their eyes with handkerchiefs.

Afterwards there was the inevitable Question and Answer time, the idea being that Dan would communicate by sign language anything the members asked and Paul would reply. Sometimes the answers were serious but quite often he introduced an element of humour.





Usually when we had interesting speakers, or at least one who likes to participate in what we’re doing, we would ask if they’d take part in presenting prizes, drawing the raffle etc. Naturally we invited Paul to do the same. He was so much fun we knew it would be a success.

Those that are about to be presented with trophies or certificates are assembled in an organised queue at the side of the stage. When names are called they come on stage to pick up their award. One lady who was next to go forth could be seen by the audience but not by Paul. For the benefit of her friends in the audience she decided to play up by preening, tapping hair in place, puckering lips, adopting a come-hither expression, and adjusting her dress. 

What she didn’t realise was that Dan was communicating all this by sign language.  Imagine her surprise when she walked on the stage and Paul made a beeline for her, kissing her cheek, hugging and swinging her round, while the members dissolved in fits laughing. Bet she never does that again!

The occasion went so well we invited Paul and Dan to other functions. He never let us down and was always amusing and kind-hearted. The women loved him and so did I.

It was around this time that Paul was presented with the OBE and there’s a great snippet on the video where he’s travelling to Buckingham Palace by car.


To end here's a video of Paul signing a Christmas Carol. 


 

22 August 2013

FOOD FOR THOUGHT


Joe and I normally do the big weekly shop together but for one reason or another he wasn’t able to go for two to three weeks. In view of that don’t you think it’s disgraceful that there was no red carpet or flying banners next time we went?


One of my recent purchases was a packet of wild pink pacific salmon, all ready to cook-in-the-bag. Even though it cost an arm and a leg it was delicious. The size of the box made me wonder if we’d got the whole fish but it was just a well sized portion. So thank you to the guy who waded into the pacific with his fishing line. You can do that again, with my blessing.

People often ask how I write short stories and where I get my ideas from. The main thing they want to know is if I start off with a plot’ and they look aghast when I say no. Most of the time it’s true. Usually I start with an opening sentence and take it from there. As I have tried explaining, and this is endorsed by many famous writers (one such being Lee Childs), it is the characters who dictate the story. When I wrote the longer stuff I did have scenarios to work on but never finished the way I intended because the characters wouldn’t allow it. The story had to go their way. It had to suit their temperament, their ideas. For example, I might have dreamed up a storyline that was completely alien to the character I invented ... which inevitably meant I had to change the original idea. It’s uncanny, though, not knowing where a story will end.  I have learned not to dwell on things, just to let them happen ... it suits paranormal since anything can happen when writing in that genre. 


Why is it that these days a collection of women are referred to as guys? Why don’t waitresses and the like address us as gals? I can (almost) understand it if the company is mixed but not when it’s a gathering of just one sex. I wonder what would happen if members of a men-only group were referred to as gals?


There is such an incidence of child murder these days, in particular parents murdering their own children.  It is acutely worrying since the various agencies don’t seem able to prevent it. Whenever I do some ironing I frequently remember my mother, who taught me to do that particular chore. Woe betide me if I got a crease in the wrong place, or missed a bit, or wrongly folded a sheet or tablecloth so that diamond patterns appeared when the article was opened out. I wasn’t just told off, I was beaten to an inch of my life. Or so it seemed. One of my punishments was to have my head continually bashed against a Welsh dresser by repeated punches to the chin. Yes, my mother would have made a good boxer. I was lucky, I guess, that she didn’t go the whole hog and kill me off.


In mother’s defence, she was a sick woman, forever taking overdoses and slimming tablets and driving my dad to distraction. Later it was discovered that she had a thyroid problem. I owe her something, though, since life with her provided fodder for some of my tales.

Being the age I am I can afford to be flippant about my upbringing, but if the scenes could have moved forward several decades my mother could well have become a killer. That statement suggests society is to blame, although I fail to see how that can be so ... surely we are all responsible for our own actions?

20 August 2013

THE DOOR IN THE WALL


THE DOOR IN THE WALL

It depended on the weather how Kelly viewed the door in the wall. If it was cold and wet she envisaged spooky things on the other side, but if it was a summer day she imagined fairies dancing amongst the daisies. It was silly, considering she had no idea what was on the other side and she had never dared to explore.

The door was an old fashioned style made of wood with two enormous pieces of ironwork top and bottom.  It was set in the huge wall that edges the acres of grounds belonging to the big house, nestled comfortably beneath the boughs of a horse chestnut tree. Village children gathered to collect the conkers in autumn, but Kelly was too grown up now to bother with childish things.

Her home was stone’s throw away, on the edge of the wooded glade that overlooked the house. The path from there to the sweet shop led her past the door but buying sweets was not her reason for walking that way. She was fascinated by the door. Each passing produced an imaginative assortment of unlikely scenes, from dead bodies and dungeons to princesses and knights on white horses. Mama said Kelly’s romancing would lead her into trouble one day.

This morning, she had heard the strangest thing: a cry, from the other side of the door. She passed there often enough but never before had she heard or seen anyone near the place. Could someone be trapped in there, trying to get out? Tentatively she reached up to press the latch, fearful of what she might find if she went inside. Feeling a little guilty, she took a step back as the door creaked open. What if there was a real life monster? What if it ate her alive? She chided herself for being foolish. After all, she was a big girl now. No need to be scared. Didn’t Dada always tell her to be brave and tackle even the things she didn’t like! She wished he was here now to help her face the sudden unknown. Somewhere in the distance, Kelly could hear music. A gentle tune that sent her fears flying. Taking a deep breath, she stepped through the doorway.

oOo

Elf was dangling from a tree, his braces caught on an unyielding branch. Suspended like a rag doll, he was powerless; there was nothing to grab, no more branches, or wooden posts, or even flowers, all he could do was swing and the more he wriggled the faster he swung.

Far below, nestling in the ferns, the black Cat gave a malicious grin; he was disinclined to help one who had so recently yanked his tail. For the past half hour he had amused himself by watching the sweat form on Elf’s brow. Unexpectedly the sun went in and Cat turned his head to see what caused it. That was when he saw Kelly clambering over logs in an attempt to reach the swinging Elf. Cat twitched his whiskers and flicked his tail, suddenly unsure. He had never seen a human here before, only fairies, and she was definitely not a fairy. She had no wings and wasn’t nearly as beautiful. Perhaps, Cat thought, he should bare his teeth to let the intruder know she wasn’t welcome.

‘Help me,’ cried Elf.

‘I’m coming,’ yelled Kelly, as she yanked away a mass of twigs.  She looked round for something to stand on. Spotting an old crate near the wall, she hurried up the path to fetch it. She didn’t hear Cat hissing as she went by. When she reached the crate, the sun disappeared altogether and she could hardly see anything in the sudden gloom.

Unbalanced by a gust of wind she had to steady herself against the wall. She shuddered and wished she hadn’t been so foolhardy. Hadn’t she heard adults talk of things happening behind the door in the wall?

While she was balanced on the upturned crate, she tried to reach the braces that were holding the Elf firmly in place. Cat watched from below.

If you hook your arm in one of the straps, you might have enough strength to yank it over the branch, whispered the wind.

Kelly looked round to see who had spoken, peering through a misty cloud to where she thought the voice came from. All she saw was Cat darting away. In so doing she toppled on the crate and fell. The pain in her foot was so awful she cried out for someone to help.

Don’t look at me, thought Cat, from his hiding place.

Elf called out, ‘Are you alright, Miss?’

oOo

They were either walls or tall grassy banks that made Kelly think she had fallen into a tunnel. She thought only a tunnel could be so dark; yet not pitch black because in the distance there was a light, small and piercing in the darkness. She wondered if she should try and reach it. Or would it be better to go back and find her way to the door. However, since her foot hurt so much she didn’t know how she would get there. The light grew brighter, seemed to be coming closer. And there was that music again, tinkling notes echoing in the gloom like tiny voices. And more lights. Kelly squeezed her eyes together and then peered again into the distance.

Sliding towards her was a cloud of dense grey smoke. Originally shaped like some kind of monster, the smoke continually reforming into different guises. At first sighting Kelly thought it was a serpent, but then it swelled and rose in height until it converted into an animal. Bear-like. After a minute spent shaking its weird form the smoke flattened down to nothing before restructuring into a human shape. The weird music continued throughout, which was probably why Kelly was scared and fascinated at the same time.

And then came the greatest surprise of all.

A parade of fairies. Kelly rubbed her eyes in disbelief. When she looked again they were still there, standing to attention beside the newly formed giant. It was a sight to behold. The fairies were all dressed differently, some carrying wands, others holding candles high above their heads. Kelly couldn’t take her eyes off the one who led the procession, gossamer dress floating as she danced towards her, with tiny stars fluttering like tumbleweed from a cascade of long hair. Kelly drew in a breath, now totally bewitched by the spectacle.  Her name was Laila, though Kelly had no idea how she knew that.

For a fairy, Laila was quite dominant. Pointing towards the opening through which Kelly had fallen, she demanded to know what all the commotion was about. Her voice was unlike any Kelly had heard, it reminded her of the triangle she played at school, described by her teacher as tunefully abrasive. Still with her arm raised, Laila explained that their Ghost was beside himself with confusion. She inclined her head towards the smoke which had now taken on the shape of an old man with a long beard.

Kelly frowned, not understanding. 

Laila introduced Kelly to the man. Our Ghost, she said, by way of introduction, our non-creature. Now, tell me what happened on the land above.

Kelly explained about Elf and described how she tried to rescue him before falling into this burrow. ‘I wonder if you could help me get back there. By now Elf is probably fighting with Cat and he can’t have got himself out of the mess he was in.’

Under Laila’s guidance two of the fairies took Kelly’s arms and flew with her up to the hole. Kelly knew a moment’s thrill when she felt herself whisked off the ground so that she was gliding upwards.

Once on terra firma the fairies went directly to the tree where Elf still swung, then proceeded to form themselves into a set of steps, each one bending at a different angle to facilitate a climb up to the tree.

‘Couldn’t you fly?’ whispered Kelly.

The fairy smiled. Yes, we could, but we need to provide a platform for Elf to walk on once he’s free.

Kelly wished she’d had the sense to realise that.

It took a few minutes to free Elf, who had the wit to look apologetic as soon as he stood upright.

Quite right, said Laila, since you were the cause of poor Kelly’s injury.

Kelly looked down at her foot, realising suddenly that it had stopped hurting.

oOo

In a matter of minutes Cat was tried and sentenced for neglecting to assist the Elf. Punishment involved some hard labour ... helping Ghost with his nightly spectral chores. Something Kelly thought would suit Cat down to the ground.

Even though she was excused from giving evidence, Kelly was rewarded with three gold seeds that were reputed to bring happiness and good health all her days. She was also praised for her part in sending for help. Apart from falling down a hole and hurting her foot, she couldn’t for the life of her think how she had summoned help. Unless.... unless it was really Ghost who did it in one of his many forms. After all, when she thought back, he (or whatever he was) had been on the scene before the fairies. He had seemed agitated, evidenced by the way he discarded various shapes in favour of the old gentleman. She knew from her family that older people were kind and considerate so perhaps that applied to ghosts as well.

An hour later Kelly returned home, having promised only to visit when invited. In her hand she clutched the three gold seeds and tried to think where she could put them to keep them safe. She would never forget the incident and she knew that henceforth her view of ghosts and fairies would be entirely different to previous ideas. She wasn’t sure about cats but she would always remember what went on behind the door in the wall.

oOo

‘Where have you been, you naughty girl? Dinner was two hours ago.’ Mama was at the sink, her fat arms covered in soap suds as she almost threw plates onto the draining board. She looked very angry.

Although Kelly was old enough to stay out, she had always told Mama where she was going. It was something she’d thought long and hard about on the way home but still hadn’t come up with a good enough reason for missing the family meal. She put her hands in her pocket to make sure the golden seeds were still there. As she gently fingered them she knew she couldn’t tell the truth about going through the door in the wall. Her parents just wouldn’t understand. 

19 August 2013

18 August 2013

Sunday Hymn - for Gardeners


All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small; 
all things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all. 

But what we never mention, though gardeners know it is true, 
when he made the goodies, He made the baddies too.

All things spray and swattable, disasters great and small, 
all things paraquatable, the Lord God made them all.

The greenfly on the roses, the maggots in the peas, 
manure that fills our noses, He gave us all of these.

The fungus on the goose-gogs, the club root on the greens, 
the slugs that eat the lettuce, and chew the aubergines.

The drought that kills the fuchsias, the frost that nips the buds, 
the rain that drowns the seedlings, the blight that hits the spuds.

The midges and mosquitoes, the nettles and the weeds, 
the pigeons in the green stuff, the sparrows in the seeds.

The fly that gets the carrots, the wasp that eats the plums, 
how black the gardener’s outlook, though green may be his thumbs.

But still we gardeners labour midst vegetables and flowers, 
and pray what hits our neighbours will somehow bypass ours. 

All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small; 
all things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all.

17 August 2013

NATURE WATCH

As close as  I could get
Turn your back on me, would you?
Gotcha!
The one that got away, or a blackbird in hiding!
Nothing like a nice clean blackbird!

Butterfly who stayed long enough for a long shot!
Two white butterflies outside bedroom window.
One stationary on a leaf, the other kept bombarding it.
Methinks they were mating or something. 
Close-up!
Not easy taking these shots through a lace covered window while balancing on a bed!
Dirty boy! Look at the muck on that deck!
Canada Geese aren't the cleanest birds in the world.

Mrs Chaffinch, scoffing!
Rare Sighting of a collared Dove
Coot in a sea of ripples! 
An unusual shot of swans, don't ask me which effect I used!
Different again!