Skidby Scarecrow Festival ……. 8th & 9th July 2017

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This weekend the lovely East Yorkshire village of Skidby holds it 7th Annual Scarecrow Festival. This is always a popular event and this year is no exception.

 

Yesterday I spent a lovely couple of hours strolling round some of the wonderfully inventive creations that had been lovingly made by the fabulously talented villagers.

I met celebrities ………. FullSizeRender (15)FullSizeRender (16)FullSizeRender (19)

 

Superman, Harry Potter and Humpty Dumpty ……….

 

And noticed a few rather suspicious characters who were perched rather precariously on ladders ………..

 

Though the fireman was doing a sterling job rescuing the elderly lady ………

 

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There were Troll Princesses, fiery dragons, robots and Daleks …………

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Liz and Dave, Pat and Jean and all the other Committee members were working hard, manning the Tombola and selling souvenirs. And the kitchen was busy serving tea, coffee, cool drinks and delicious home-baked cakes etc.

 

And, even though I am afraid of birds, I managed to take a photo of these beautiful birds of prey ……part of the Falconry display on the Village Green ………

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And the very clever and amusing ‘LOVEcrow’ (as opposed to SCAREcrow ) …………

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So, once again, this marvellous Festival has proved to be a great success …….

If you are in the area, you still have time to pop along and enjoy all the exhibits and other attractions.

But, if you can’t come along this time ….there is always next year.  No doubt I will be posting another article in 2018 ….at least, I hope so !

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Going Home

 

 

 

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Today I’m re-posting a little piece of ecological sci-fi  …….. But IS it really just ‘silly  fiction’ ? 

If we’re not careful it may actually happen ………and we may not get a second chance …….

*****

GOING HOME 

Looking back I suppose it all started on Armstrongday.

There had been a visit from the Valerian Ships just the day before and these wandering merchants had brought all kinds of goodies.  Zarod and I had taken some of  the treats and gone on a picnic.  We had waited eons for permission to leave the city dome and many of our requests had failed, but this time we were lucky.

We had donned our suits and packed the buggy with the juiciest  yarobs and the nuttier slices of the Valerian’s nutcake, along with the usual re-hydrating tablets and desiccated banyan fruit.  We set off, over the bridge to the Glen Satellite-Island and erected our personal, Climate-controlled Pod when we saw strange lights in the sky.

It was just a few green flashes at first,
“Some sort of meteor shower !”  Zarod said.
But then the whole sky was green and huge lumps of rock, weighing at least 100 lunar-pounds began to rain down upon us.

Zarod helped me into my suit and then put on his own and packed our things. It was obvious that we were not safe in our Pod, cracks began to appear in the air-locked shell as heavy blows hit it with frightening regularity. We set the buggy to ‘Mega-speed’ and drove to the bridge that led back to the mainland.

All around us there was chaos as people rushed to leave the Satellite-Island and head towards the nearest City and safety.

I could imagine this happening on all 5000 Islands around the planet. In fact, being a bit of a dreamer, I wondered if it had been like this all those years ago when the Great Evacuation began……….. When our Great-great-great Grandparents had realised that their Birth Planet was dying, the life squeezed out of it by pollution and the destruction of the environment and the fragile eco-system.

Back then the Great Project began,………… the rush to find a refuge for the Earth- Planet’s population. The colonisation of the Lunar base was planned ……………, the building of huge cities began. Each city contained in transparent bubbles, protecting the inhabitants from the deadly atmosphere.

There had been civil revolt and great unrest when the Earthlings had realised that there would not be room for everyone. The situation was desperate, their Birth Planet was turning brown, vegetation was withering, soil was poisoned and the seas turned to sludge. All the animals were sickly and many of the poorest nations were perishing through lack of food.

Huge triage Centres were set up. There people were assessed as to their suitability for space travel and meanwhile, on the Lunar Planet, the Satellite Islands were constructed to help accommodate more and more folk once they had been assessed and shipped out. It was an enormous undertaking, but it was truly a matter of life or death. Soon the Earth Planet was left alone, just a dried up husk of a planet, orbiting the sun ……… lifeless.

An loud explosion brought me out of my reverie and back to the present and our perilous predicament. A meteor had hit a section of the bridge, behind us and pieces of titanium were floating off into space. Zarod switched the buggy into 8th gear and we almost flew the last few Lunar-miles to Aldrin City.

Everywhere folk were talking about the meteor shower and also about the strange green light.  A bright neon-green that had now moved away and was beginning to envelope the Earth Planet, far in the distance.

The Info-phones were calling for all Science experts to convene at the City Forum and, as Zarod teaches Physics at the University, he set off immediately. The meeting lasted a Lunar-week. People rushed in and out, the giant telescopes were deployed ….. all trained on Planet Earth and an exploratory ship, manned by Androids, was sent out.

This all happened 6 Lunar-months ago ….. oh, I have got to get used to a new way of measuring time, haven’t I ? The meteors stopped showering down on us but the green light stayed around the Earth Planet and gradually, through some sort of Space osmosis, vegetation began to return. Air began to freshen, grass began to grow and the sea became clear and blue once more.

No-one has been able to explain the change in the Earth.  Probes have been sent out, all returning with the same story. ‘The Earth Planet is alive once more.’  ………….Humanity has been given a second chance !

I loosen my suit as I enter the Ark ship. Zarod is by my side as we join the hundreds of eager colonists. We are among the first wave of Lunars ,,,,,,,,,going to a new world, a new life, a free way of living.  Without survival Pods, without space suits, without the hard grey rock and dust of the moon’s landscape. Back to the Birth Planet of our race …… we are going home.

*****

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There May Be Trouble Ahead

 

I just knew the day was going to go badly, it would be like pleating gravy.  Everything I had planned was going to fall apart and sooner or later the shit would hit the fan. My event planning business would, despite my herculean efforts, lose quite a few customers. …… I just knew it ……….

This was the biggest , most high profile , event I had ever organised and I knew I had done an amazing job. I had bloody well excelled myself.
I had finally arranged the seating despite the family feuds and cries of,

” Oh you can’t sit her next to HIM !”

 I had sourced the specially requested and extremely expensive, exotic blooms from the Philippines. And even driven all the way out to the airport to collect them and ensure they were stored in a suitable temperature at the venue.

I had made sure that the pearl white,  monogrammed balloons had all been carefully inflated and securely tied  to the huge silver arch,  beneath which the  bride and groom would stand.  I had checked that the full-blown, double-petaled roses that were to mingle with the balloons were completely thorn-free. This would be the special romantic arbour where they would hold hands and make their vows and kiss and I certainly did not want thorns to pierce the balloons and disturb the moment.
I had hired the most talented orchestra and given the musicians the long list of requests;  the bride’s favourite tunes and the special arrangement of the music for the  ‘first dance’.
I had booked the most fashionable caterers and risked the chefs disapproving stare when I gave him the recipe for the special honey-flavoured  dessert, which is, apparently, a favourite of the bride’s mother !
I had even given the waiting staff  a lesson or two in etiquette and made sure that every uniform, from hat to apron to glove was perfect in its starched, white, formality.
This wedding was going to be legendary in its beauty of design and decor; its leafy,  rose- petal strewn, crystal sparkling, fairy- lit, pink -cloud filled perfection.
So why was I so worried ? What on earth could possibly occur  to spoil such careful planning, such meticulous arrangements ?

The bride and her formidable mother would be here in an hour to inspect the room and give me the praise I so richly deserved…………….

 

……………..However, when they arrived, I would be sitting in a soft topped sports car,  hurtling towards Gretna Green with the groom !!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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One for Colin

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A Facebook friend has been asking for more of my stories, so I am re-posting this old one.  I apologise if you’ve read it in a previous post. I hope to return to writing new stories very soon. 

 

Mike’s Diary ……Fitting In 

The first time I saw her, she was a thin, scrawny little scrap of humanity, of maybe about 9 or 10. Blonde hair stuck to her face by wind and rain, her little hooded coat less than adequate against the bitter north-east wind. Her enormous blue eyes gazing in wonder as she grasped her Father’s hand and trooped up the hill towards her new home. Even in those faded clothes she seemed to glow, as though she was lit from within and to my young, boyish eyes, she looked like an angel, something not of this world. She turned and glanced at us, shyly, then averted her gaze and marched stoically onwards, her battered suitcase banging against her thin little legs as she struggled up the steep incline.

It was the early 1960s and Pete, Gordon and I were out on our bikes, as usual. Hanging around shop doorways, hoping we could persuade some grown-up to go in and purchase ten Woodbines, with our hard-earned pocket money. The local tobacconist had got wise to us and threatened to tell our parents if he caught us smoking again. And so, we hung about, trying to look cool; well, as cool as our 12 years would allow !

So, there we were, watching the two foreigners walking up the hill.

I knew they were foreigners ………… I knew all about them. My Dad worked for the Council and he had heard, from someone in the Housing Department, who, in turn, had been told by one of the Housing Officers, that the incomers were from some Eastern Bloc country. The Father was a political emigre, or something like that. I had listened, thrilled, as Dad told Mum how the chap had been jailed for his beliefs.

I had no real idea what  “dissident”  or  “asylum”  meant; but it all sounded very  ‘cloak  and dagger’  and I had been longing to see what this strange man would be like. I imagined some huge, muscular soldier, rather like the heroic characters in my comic-books. Strong and defiant, with a determined chin and steely eyes. But my imagination had never prepared me for the reality.

He was tall, dark and very thin, as thin as his daughter. His face was gaunt and his eyes sunk into his skull, giving him an almost skeletal-like appearance.  At 12 years old, I knew nothing of the hardships he had endured; of the torture, both mental and physical he had suffered, but as I looked across the street and into his haunted eyes, I felt some of the misery and was ashamed of my disappointment in his appearance.

The next time I saw the girl was about two weeks later. Pete and I were going to the park to kick a ball around with some other lads. Poor old Gordon was laid up with the chicken-pox and we had waved to him through his window. We reached the beck and saw a group of kids hanging about near the old tree. Years ago, someone had fastened a thick rope to an over-hanging branch and we boys and a couple of the braver girls, used this rope to swing out over the beck, emulating Tarzan and other heroes of the Saturday Cinema matinees.

A female figure was lying on the ground and, at first, I thought one of the lasses had scattily let go of the rope and crashed to the ground, but as we drew nearer, I saw it was the blonde angel, the little foreign girl and she was crying.

Children can be so cruel and anyone who is  ‘different‘  was always ‘fair game’ and the angel was certainly different.

She had been taunted because she spoke with a strange accent; her English was limited; her clothes were shoddy; all manner of reasons. I dropped my bike and yelled at the other kids, telling them to leave her alone. As one of the older boys, I commanded quite a bit of respect and so they ceased their taunting and shoving and parted to let me pass. The angel was sobbing softly and a large cut on her leg was bleeding profusely. I dug in my pocket and pulled out a grubby hankie, then, licking it, as I had seen Mum do, I dabbed at the blood and then tied the hankie, like a bandage, around her leg. She looked up at me with those luminous eyes and managed a wavering little smile, then, in a soft voice, she warbled her thanks. My adolescent heart melted, but I was aware of a dozen pairs of eyes burning into my back, so I gruffly muttered that it was  “OK”  and helped her to her feet.

Even Pete seemed captivated and suggested we take her home. So we pushed our bikes and strolled slowly as she limped alongside and, in her broken English, she told us her name was Iraina and that her Mother had died of pneumonia a year ago, while her Father was still imprisoned. She told of their escape from behind the Iron Curtain; of the hardships they had endured and of her delight at being safe in Britain. She told us how she wanted to become British, and be accepted. No longer have doors slammed in her face. How she wanted to be just like all the other girls, she wanted to  ‘fit in’.

I guess I became her  ‘minder’  after that and secretly revelled in the role. Iraina was still at Junior School and we Grammar School lads certainly would not be seen with those  ‘little kids’, but after tea I would cycle down to the beck and casually hang around, pretending to be waiting for Gordon or Pete, but secretly keeping an eye on her. Iraina always looked over and nodded shyly and then she would smile and her beautiful eyes would light up and my stomach would lurch and I felt as though I was flying, floating blissfully on a cloud.

Each time I saw Iraina, she had changed slightly. Oh, the blonde hair, blue eyes and angel-like face were still there, but it was her attitude. She seemed a little more confident, more forward. Her English improved and her accent was hardly noticeable. I noted that she was often in the company of much older, more  ‘knowing‘  girls. …………..The ones that hung around, smoking and flirting with boys. By now she had gone on to the Secondary Modern School and a lot of her new friends were unfamiliar, but I was becoming old enough to see that they were leading her astray.

One evening I saw her lounging about outside the chip shop. Her limpid eyes were plastered with thick, black makeup and I’m sure her Father would not have approved of the length of her skirt. But I thought she looked beautiful. She was with a group of girls I had never seen before and she was far lovelier than any of them. She smiled her gorgeous smile and called me over, acting like Queen Bee. Then held onto my arm in a proprietary way and I almost burst with pride. We walked back to her house and I was glad to discover that she was still the same lovely girl, when she lowered the bright, brittle image that she had so carefully constructed.

We talked about many things; about her Father, whose health was failing and about my A levels and hopes of going to University. I said I would graduate and get a marvellous job and we would live together in splendour and she giggled and joked, little knowing that I was semi-serious. She spoke of her new friends, of their big houses with patios and conservatories and how she was finally accepted, how she was  ‘fitting in’.

I saw very little of Iraina for a couple of years as I was studying hard, determined to do well, still secretly harbouring my dream of a life together.  Nowadays, we moved in such different circles however, we did meet occasionally and each time I saw her I knew she was my soulmate; that what I had felt, all those years ago was, in fact, love. Inside, she was always her usual, lovely self, but her veneer of sophistication was more polished. The makeup was elaborate, the hair teased and lacquered, the clothes more revealing and the high-heels positively gravity-defying. She was running with a very wild crowd now and I voiced my concern for her safety.

Iraina just laughed, a tinkly, sparkling little laugh and told me I was being silly. She said I was  ‘old-fashioned’ , that her clothes were the latest fashion and that this was how she had to act if she wanted to be  ‘one of the crowd’. She told me not to worry, that she was still the old Iraina, that it was all for show.

We said our farewells the day I went off to Uni, I had done well in my exams and had been accepted at Edinburgh University, to study Medicine. She promised to keep in touch, but as I kissed her goodbye, my heart was strangely heavy. I wrote every day and, for a while, so did she, then we lost touch.

The last time I saw Iraina was a few years later. I had got my Degree and gone on to study Pathology, then, after qualifying I secured a position back in my home town.

The body was wheeled in and the sheet that was covering it was removed. There she lay, her blonde hair spread out around her shoulders; her beautiful blue eyes staring coldly into space. Her flimsy blouse was ripped, her skirt pulled up over her hips and her panties were missing. The deep purple marks around her slender neck had probably been the cause of her death, that or the many needle marks on her arms.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

 
This is a Word Game from a couple of years ago ……

The words to be included were;

TROOPED, JAILED, SOULMATE, PATIOS, MINDER, WARBLED, GRASPED, SCATTILY, DOORS, PANTIES, EMIGRE.

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A Photo a Day in June …. June 30th

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I’d love to be able to tell you that this picture of pea-pod perfection shows the bountiful harvest from my own, home-grown pea plants. But, sadly, that is not the case.

My poor little shoots finally succumbed to the dreaded slugs and all that remained was bare soil and slimy trails.

No …. not mine own !  These lovely peas are, once again, a gift from one of my generous neighbours.

These pods came from an allotment with nary a slug …….a place where the uliginous interlopers fear to tread …….

Somewhere in Narnia, I guess …….

 

 

*****

 

Well, I have finally finished my challenge ….. with, admittedly, a couple of hitches on the way. However, I have posted 30 photos (well, probably slightly more, to be frank) and have even managed to write a few lines about each picture.  And so I am feeling reasonably pleased with myself and I hope this exercise helps me to get back into  ‘blogging mode’.

 I hope you have enjoyed at least some of my photos and accompanying rambles.

 Let’s see what July has in store …….. take care dear readers and thank you for being there. 

 

 

 

 

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A Photo a Day in June ….. June 29th

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Today’s photo is of my beloved great-grandma, Annie Louisa Becker. She died over 45 years ago, at the grand old age of 98 and was, until the very last year or so, always alert and lots of fun.

 

There is no particular reason for posting this photo, other than the fact that I was just thinking about her this morning and wondering what she would make of today’s world ………………………………….

 

I think she would purse her lips and do rather a lot of  ‘tutting’ ……

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A Photo a Day in June …. June 28th

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Typically, after days of sunshine and temperatures higher than in the Bahamas, today we have grey skies and rain and woolly jumper weather.

So, after completing all my domestic chores, I will be sitting on the sofa, knitting and watching re-runs of  ‘Poirot’  or  ‘Miss Marple’.

My life is  SO  rock’n’roll ………….

But at least the  WOOL  is sunshine yellow !

 

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Posted in A photo a day throughout June,, Blogging, challenges, hobbies and pastimes,, knitting, summer, Uncategorized, weather | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

A Photo a Day in June …. June 27th

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I found this tagine in a local charity shop, this morning.

It didn’t appear to have a price ticket or sticker on it and so I asked one of the assistants about it.

The woman said that it wasn’t priced because none of the assistants knew what it was, or what it could be used for. I proceeded to explain that it was a  ‘tagine’  and was used in Moroccan cooking.

” How on earth can you cook in that ? And what the heck would you cook in it ?

was the rather puzzled reply.

So, to avoid further distress I offered to take it off their hands………. especially when one of the assistants suggested, rather nervously, that it could be purchased for the princely sum of ………. £2 …. !!

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A Photo a Day in June …. June 26th

 

Back home from my  ‘ teenager/house-sitting‘  duties and so I thought I would post some of my favourite views of my village.

 

 

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A Photo a Day in June …… June 25th

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This is my granddaughter Natasha’s bicycle ……… and I am rather envious.

I have always harboured a dream of owning a similar bicycle …….. preferably a gorgeous old Pashley, with a wicker basket on the front.

In a perfect world, I would be cycling along a lane in glorious sunshine. Wearing a flowing flowery frock, with my dog Betty and a bunch of tulips in the basket ….. all smiles and peacefulness and bicycling bliss.

With my arthritic knees and general  ‘knackeredness‘, the reality, I fear, would be somewhat different ……….

 

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