The elderly lady sat quietly surveying the scene from the luxurious comfort of her overstuffed armchair. She had not stayed in this hotel before, but delighted in its location, nestled as it was, in the beautiful Cotswold Hills.

It was furnished in a Country House style; deep-piled carpets, plump sofas, four-poster beds and an air of elegant comfort. The service was impeccable; the cuisine innovative and devinely delicious.  The grounds were spectacular,   including an eighteen hole, tournament standard, golf course; tennis courts and  picturesque woodland walks.

It was certainly the swankiest  Jane had ever seen. But, above all, it was perfect in the most important detail: its clientele!

It is like the United Nations ”  Jane thought, to herself, as she lifted her knitting from her capacious brown leather handbag.
There was the obligatory, smart suited, English businessman, complete with well-used briefcase. He sat by the window,  his laptop,tabbed files and papers spread out before him, a gin and tonic by his side. From time to time he furtively glanced at his mobile phone, as though expecting some message to appear. Then suddenly grabbed his phone and rushed out into the foyer.
“Probably in some Government quango ! And up to his neck in scandal”  she thought, nodding sagely to herself.

And then  there was the overbearing Russian, acting like some feudal lord. Ordering the staff to bring him more lemon for his tea, while admiring his profile in the mirror, which hung over the mantlepiece.

“Such vanity” Jane thought, ” I fancy he has a few skeletons in his cupboard “ and she smiled to herself and glanced at the doorway.
Ah,here were the tardier ones, only just drifting in from the Dining Room !

A brash Australian guest and his harpy of a wife.  Jane had noticed them at dinner …. couldn’t miss them really. He had been hunched over his plate like some ravenous dog, stuffing food into his mouth without pausing for breath, while his wife had picked idly at her salad, toyed with her bejewelled wrists and whined, continually, about the weather,

” Aaawww, Bruce, it wasn’t so cold in France !   I wanna go back to the South of France NOW !   This pommie country is the pits !”
Bruce had grunted, piled in more forks-full of food, taken a huge swill of lager and burped, loudly. Jane had been appalled. To be frank, she often found antipodean folk to be a little rough, but Bruce and his wife were beyond the pale. She peered at them over her wire-rimmed spectacles and mentally made a little note.

The two, middle-aged women by the French windows, sneezed and blew their noses,
” Ach, zis pollen !” said one, by way of apology and she gestured towards the large arrangement of lilies on the nearby grand piano. Jane nodded and smiled and watched as they resumed their card game.

” German, from Hamburg, I believe they said. Hmmm, interesting !” she thought and then turned her attention to the other people in the room.

There was a  doctor from Dundee, on a golfing holiday with his wife and teenage daughter.  The wife was a rather pretty little brunette with a bubbly personality. All through dinner she had flirted shamelessly with a Swedish school-teacher, who,  apparently, was on a sabbatical due to ill health. The sulky-faced teenager had played with one of those new-fangled things, “ A tablet”, Jane thought they were called. Anyway, she had fiddled with the darn thing through all five courses, barely touching any food and glaring at her parents whenever she managed to raise her head from her device.  Jane had heard the parents arguing fiercely before dinner. Their room was next to hers and the windows were open. She could not make out what was being said but the words “money”, had been repeated many times.

And, finally, a mysterious and beautiful Italian Countess, Donna Sophia. She had dazzled all the men, even though she sat, hardly uttering a word, completely alone at her table. Her clothes looked couture but Jane, who had an eye for such things, had secretly thought they were either  very old or rather cheap copies.

Yes, her fellow guests  were ideal, the perfect protagonists.

Jane’s nephew could not have found a more perfect place for her convalescence.

The evening drifted on and guests floated in and out of the sitting room, casual chatter, laughter and the ‘clink’ of glasses filled the air as the huge log fire crackled and glowed.
She was drowsy in the warmth and her eyelids were drooping; her knitting lay in her lap, untouched for the last half hour when a scream shattered the genteel atmosphere.

Jane Marple opened her eyes and smiled to herself ….. it had begun.


Apologies to Agatha Christie………



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Its all  GO at the moment ….rush, rush, rush …..Hurry up !

I have so much to do and so little time in which to do it ….or at least, that’s how it seems. Christmas is looming and I’m panicking ………

Its silly, really, isn’t it ?  I do love the Christmas season and it really ought not to be such a busy, fraught time.  I should just enjoy it ….what gets done, gets done ….and what doesn’t will have to just  ‘go hang‘ …..

But I tend to set myself rather unrealistic targets. I am my own worst enemy.

However ……this year I am spending the Holidays with my son and daughter-in-law and three of my grandchildren…..I go on Christmas Eve and  return home on the day after Boxing Day.

So, its not up to me to provide the  ‘perfect’  Christmas ……

I won’t be the one who has to deliver a fabulous day …..all  sparkling snowflakes; roaring fires; immaculately wrapped gifts and a dining table groaning with the weight of enough, perfectly cooked,  food for a small country.

Its not my responsibility to ensure that everyone enjoys a picture-perfect Christmas ….reminiscent of those 1950s musicals or The Andy Williams TV Show ……

But why do I even feel that Christmas should be like that ?

Where has all this come from …..why do I put so much pressure on myself ?

Does it really matter ?

Its the fault of the flipping media, isn’t it ?

All those extravagantly staged  Christmas scenes in magazines.

The  manipulative TV advertisements; full of lonely people suddenly finding a friend, or animals on trampolines.You know, the ones  that all the big stores trundle out, at huge expense, to grab our hearts and wring every last drop of emotion and money from already fraught parents and stretched purses.

And the old films ….. new ones too.

And bloody Charles Dickens with his goose that was  bigger than Tiny Tim.

And Andy Williams and Bing Crosby are not totally blameless …in their damned Christmas sweaters;  either singing carols with a hoard of smug -faced Osmonds or putting on a show in a barn while the pristine New England snow falls prettily in the background………….  Vera Ellen and Danny Kaye in velvet and furs …..snowflakes; sleigh-bells and a huge flipping tree surrounded by presents.

Oh yes …and James Stewart ….damn him…reducing me to tears year after year.

And even everyday  TV adverts with smiling families round a beautiful tree,  opening  presents which are always the  ‘thing they have always wanted‘ ………. and Judy Garland singing  Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ ……. It all perpetuates the myth of a harmonious, wonderful family holiday. And you know what ?

I BLOODY LOVE IT ALL !! ..…………………. Yes I really do ….so …

On with the hustle and bustle …..the shopping and the writing of cards ….. the cooking and wiping up spills ….. the tears of disappointment and tiredness ……. the wrapping paper that splits and the tree that sheds its needles whenever someone opens a door ……. the mince-pies with burnt bits and the turkey that simply WON’T cook ……. The embarrassing relations, drunk at 10 in the morning ……..

I’m always dreaming of an impossibly perfect Christmas and always falling short ……But I don’t care …..Bring it on !



I’m dreaming of a Christmas white,

And all the season brings.

Of yule-tide logs and candles bright

And other jolly things.

My brain is fixed in festive mode,

As I hang my holly wreath.

Of Winter walks, when I once strode

Upon the snowy heath.

I think of family, having fun.

Of happiness and bliss.

But there’s something that must be done,

Before I enjoy all this.

Its not all peace and joy, I fear;

Nor little robins, hopping.

The thing that spoils every year

Is the flipping Christmas shopping !

I’ve made a list, so off I go,

To brave the busy streets.

A computer game for Bobby-Joe

And Bill and Jane want sweets.

Sandra likes exotic gloves,

Covered in beads and glitter.

Heaven knows what Jamie loves ……

Oh ……. Helen is a knitter ……

I’ll buy her that new yarn, I think.

It looks like matted string !

Fred, I’m certain, likes his drink ….

I’ll get some Gordon’s Gin !

Liz and Kay  love sparkly socks,

So I’ve bought a shoal of those.

Mickey wants some Lego blocks

And a fire-truck with a hose.

I’m really getting tired out

And spending large amounts,

Is not what Christmas is about.

Its not what really counts.

I’ve shopped all day and I have found

I’m just halfway through my list.

So now I’m off …. I’m homeward bound.

I’m going to get pissed !

With packages I am waist high

As I fall into the house

To console myself with a huge mince pie

And a litre of “Famous Grouse” !

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A Modern Fairytale



When I used to take part in the Countdown Word Game, I played along with a few other bloggers.  One week, Matt, the inventor of the game, imposed a theme for our stories.

 The theme was ‘Fairy Tales’ and I wrote one of my usual ‘airy-fairy’ tales.  However, Lucy and her niece Danu, who also took part, we most displeased with the theme.  Danu complained that fairy tales were generally rather ‘anti-feminist.’ The heroines were often ‘namby-pamby’ characters, who did the bidding of male counterparts. 

I said that this didn’t have to be the case and said that I would prove her wrong.  Bold words ………
A few days later I had to sit for two long hours in the doctor’s surgery, as I was having a ‘Glucose tolerance’ test and so, to wile away the time,  I decided to write a fairytale especially for Danu. Here is the result, re-blogged for your amusement.  Did I succeed ?





Once upon a time, not too long ago,  in a land far beyond the Misty Mountains, there was a kingdom, ruled by a mighty King called Ulthar. Now Ulthar, as in all the best stories, had a beautiful daughter, Ciara, who should have been the light of his life, his comfort in his later years and mother to his grand-children. The King had been widowed for many years and so Ciara had been raised by a variety of nurses, nannies and tutors. She had been schooled in all the subjects thought suitable for a Princess of the Realm. She was proficient in many languages, knew all about the customs and traditions of the neighbouring lands. Had learned how to speak to foreign dignitaries, without actually voicing an opinion and, most importantly, knew the way to wave continually to her subjects without developing cramp in her arms.
She had the finest music teachers and could play the piano and harp like a professional and she sang like an angel. Her dance-master, brought in at great expense from a far off place, had taught her the Waltz and the Gavotte and other lady-like dances and her grace and elegance delighted all at State Balls and other grand occasions.
She was dressed by the finest couturiers and her shoes and slippers were all handmade. In short, she was the very epitome of perfection; the most fabulous Princess the land had ever seen.


But Ulthar was most displeased, his daughter was not at all what he had hoped. Despite all her royal indoctrination, Ciara was a rebel, a thorn in his side and though he loved her dearly, he despaired.


It all began when, as a young child, she refused to eat any meat. This severely disrupted the royal meal-times and, thinking it to be just a fad, many meat-based delicacies were put before her, to tempt her back into ‘the fold’, but Ciara just clamped shut her sweet little rosebud mouth and would not permit any of it to pass her lips.

This then escalated and she became a Vegan !

Vegan ?


Ulthar had never heard the word before and the royal Librarian had to scurry to the drawing room with a huge dictionary and find the offending word and explain all its implications. Ulthar was appalled, but Ciara was adamant, also insisting that her Father dismiss the royal Shoemaker; who only seemed capable of working in the finest calf leather, and employ someone who would make her footwear in some alternative materials.
The royal Chef was non too pleased either, and minions were dispatched to purchase Vegan Cookbooks. Suddenly banquets were a whole new experience, as a Vegan menu had to be included and more choices provided.

Ciara was rebellious in other ways too. She went out and about, among the people, visiting the poor and caring for the sick. Ulthar protested vehemently, this was not her job, what would people think ? It was totally undignified and downright dangerous ! But Ciara continued with her visits, she was a very determined girl and would not be dictated to by anyone, not even her Father.

However, there was one thing upon which Ulthar would not be moved and that was the matter of marriage. From an early age, Ciara had been betrothed to a Prince from a nearby Kingdom. This Prince was rich, handsome, intelligent and erudite, everything a Prince should be, and the wedding was due to take place in six months time. Time enough to instill some sense of duty into the wayward Princess.

Ciara, however, had other ideas and was refusing to be ‘married off‘  like some inanimate object, some possession.

Now, Ulthar had always given in to Ciara’s whims and fantasies, but in this he was unmoved and so, at the advice of the royal Physician, who fancied himself as a bit of a psychologist, he decided to lock Ciara away until she came to her senses. It was amazing what a bit of solitary confinement, with only books for company, could achieve.
The Palace had a very high tower in the west wing and so a suite of rooms was prepared and Ciara was taken there and locked in.

She cried and raged and beat her fists against the heavy oak door. She begged and sulked and pouted and threw books and plates at the poor servants who tended to her. She refused to co-operate in anything, leaning out of the high windows and calling out to the people far below. But she was far too high for anyone to hear her and her words drifted on the breeze and were carried far away and all she succeeded in doing was giving herself a migraine.
She sighed with frustration as, after fourteen days, she realised that her Father was serious, he really intended to keep her prisoner !

Well, Ciara was no Rapunzel and she did not intend to wait around for some stupid suitor to climb the tower and rescue her. But, what to do ?

She ran her fingertips along the shelves of books that lined one wall of her sitting-room, then selected a slim volume and spent the remainder of the day, curled up on a velvet sofa, reading.

Next day, she had calmed a little and sent a message to her Father, saying that, if she was to remain in the tower until her wedding day she would like to do something creative, she would like to make some dresses. This delighted Ulthar, who hoped she may be coming to her senses. Ciara had also indicated that she wished to weave her own cloth for a special garment and she had included a short list of requests;

1)A loom made from the lightest of metals, not wood, as she wanted strength but did not want a splinter in her delicate fingers.

2)Quantities of faux-silk, to weave into cloth.

3)Sewing implements.

This was all agreed and soon a loom, made to Ciara’s own, exacting specifications was delivered and the royal chemists were set to work , spinning bobbins of the finest, most delicate polymer.

Day after day, Ciara sat weaving at her loom and, eventually, yards of the most beautiful  cloth lay shimmering on the table. Ciara worked tirelessly and the servants began to notice a change in her attitude. She was more reasonable, more agreeable than she had been for weeks. Ulthar was thrilled at the news; he suspected that Ciara had finally changed her mind, that she was secretly making her wedding trousseau and so he decided to go and visit her that very afternoon.

Ulther climbed the hundreds of steps up the spiral staircase to Ciara’s suite. He was accompanied by the Master of the Tower, who jangled many keys on a thick golden hoop. A huge key was selected and turned in the ancient lock and the enormous door swung open. Ulther entered, ready to embrace his beloved daughter.

The room was, strangely, empty and so he strode into the royal bed-chamber; but no ! Ciara was nowhere to be seen.

Back in the sitting room he noticed no loom, no bolts of shimmering cloth, just an empty room, quiet and still, except for the breeze that blew through the long, open windows and  slightly lifting the heavy drapes. A book lay open on the table, its pages fluttering. Ulther walked over to it and glanced at the title page,

How to build a Hang-Glider “

Rushing to the window, he saw something high in the sky, reflecting the sun’s rays. It was Ciara, free as a bird, floating on the thermals on her home-made hang-glider; a glider fashioned from the lightest of metals and the finest of polymer cloth.

The End.

Well, there you go Danu, I hope you like this fairytale with a modern twist.

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Winds blowing; leaves swirling;


Squirrels gathering; birds leaving;


Woodsmoke rising; rain falling;

Cosy jumpers; boots and mittens.

Crimson sunsets; days shorter;


Pumpkins smiling; fireworks sparkling;

Curled up snugly, fire burning.

Hot chocolate, toasted teacakes;

Frosty nights and golden days

 My favourite season,



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A Tale For Hallowe’en




Today is All Hallows Eve, a time of witches and ghouls and all manner of strange happenings. Blog pages will be full of scary stories and ghastly doings, all designed to scare the life out of you.   So, I thought I would re-blog this little tale as an antidote to all that ……….. 



Mrs McGillacuddy shifted in her bed and sighed heavily. The snoring emanating from the twin-bed, a few feet away ….across the small, rather scruffy and well-worn beige shag-pile rug …… hadn’t ceased for the last hour.  She had thought of getting up and making herself a cup of tea, but she needed to sleep.  There was too much to do tomorrow.

Cleaning for Mrs Donalds;

Laundry for the posh restaurant  down the High Street ….with all the table-cloths and napkins to starch and iron.

The foyer floor to wax in the Town Hall.

And all for a pittance …..

The snoring reached a crescendo.  It had been that loud, guttural,  snorting sound that had woken her.

“Gawd”,  she thought, it felt as though she had only just managed to drop off to sleep and now she lay awake while a multitude of thoughts and emotions paraded through her brain.

“Bloody ‘ell”  she murmured,  “If he doesn’t shut up I swear I’ll ‘ang for ‘im”

Then, feeling suddenly brave, she reached to the floor, picked up her old tattered slipper and flung it in the general direction of the sleeping hulk and, trying to summon up all of the usable words in her rather limited, but colourful vocabulary, she muttered.

“You’re the ugliest, sorriest excuse for a man.  You f’ing bastard.  Not an f’ing useful bone in your f’ing fat lazy body. Shut the f’ up ….for gawds sake ……. I need me f’ing sleep”

The offending snorer, her husband of 10 years, was spared this torrent of abuse as he slumbered on, comatose. Rendered unconscious by the 10 pints of best bitter he had swilled down at the local pub.  Not to mention the additional 4 double whiskies, generously bought for him by old Harry-next-door. Of course, Harry could afford to be lavish with his money tonight …he had had a big win on the horses. So the guys were determined to drink until they could barely stand …..

“Gotta spend the winnings …can’t let the wife get a sniff of it, she might want to pay some bills with it”  Harry had laughed. And so they caroused till closing time.

On their drunken, meandering walk home, Harry was heard to opine,

” I ‘ope you ain’t forgot yer lasses birthday. Our Elsie says its t’day “

But of course he had forgotten ….. he always did. In all these 10 years he had never remembered.  Never had a job, either. Mrs McGillacuddy hadn’t received so much as a kind word or dog-eared card, let alone flowers or chocolates. But she dare not utter a word of protest ….. A thick ear or blackened eye was her usual reward for any dissent. He beat her on a regular basis,

“Whether she needs it or not”, he joked to his cronies.

And Mrs McGillacuddy was too afraid, or too worn down by life, to leave him.

A rustling sound suddenly added to the snoring and the woman screwed up her eyes and tried to peer into the darkness.  The room was practically pitch black …no light seeped in from street-lamps ….not round here. The local kids had smashed the light-bulbs so often that the Council had given up replacing them.  The whole unkempt and bedraggled street was dark.

She heard the curtains move and, for a second, her heart-beat quickened.  But then she remembered that the window, beside her spouse’s bed, was open.  A breeze had briefly lifted the drapes, but now they were still.

Mrs McGillacuddy lay back on her pillow and wrinkled her nose,

“Gawd, what on earth is that smell ?”

His socks, maybe ….or worse ?  He changed his undies far too infrequently. Or, more likely, it was the can of  Tetleys  he had split in one of his drunken rages.  She had scrubbed that ragged old rug, but the beer had saturated every fibre and a sour aroma still remained.  Oh well, she really must try to sleep.

Wearily,she pulled the thin duvet over her head. The snoring had changed tone and was now a sort of rhythmic, slurping, gasping sound.

” Maybe the old sod is choking”, she thought, ” But I’m not that flipping lucky” and she ruefully rubbed at her hip, which still bore bruises from her last beating.

“Sleep”  she muttered,  “…..must sleep….gotta get up soon”  and she closed her eyes.

The vampire had entered through the open bedroom window. It was so easy to gain access during the summer months. People liked fresh air when they were sleeping.  But times weren’t so easy in other ways.  It used to be that folks went to bed at a reasonable time, but nowadays they stayed up late; playing on-line games or watching flipping box-sets of  ‘Breaking Bad’  on Netflix.  Now a vampire had to get his sustenance wherever he could !

The bed nearest the window was occupied by a male, who seemed to be in some sort of stupor. So the creature had drunk its fill ….sucking pints of blood from a gaping hole in the man’s neck. The monster’s fangs had ripped open the flesh, tearing into the jugular vein, instantly killing the victim.

There was anther human in the room, but time was running out. Dawn would soon be breaking and the vampire must get back to his lair. His refuge, a dank, ancient coffin, lay well-hidden, in the old disused cotton-mill on the other side of town.

“Better hurry”…….

The evil beast grinned. He knew he could always return another night and finish off the other human.  Slipping through the curtains, the vampire stood on the window-sill, poised to fly  ‘home’.  But something was wrong,  he felt strangely disorientated. The victim’s blood had tasted …..different….. somehow.  What could it be ?  It seemed ….yes….. maltier than usual.  That was it, MALTIER !

“Ah, no matter.  Blood is blood”  he thought and, swaying slightly he launched into the air.

The sky in the east was beginning to get light……

“Hurry. Hurry !”

But the creature could barely control his flight. He was swaying, swooping drunkenly.

Over the town; over the  new housing-estate ….over the playing fields.  Just the Rugby Stadium to negotiate and ……..

The alcohol was taking its toll …..

“Drunk in charge of fangs” …. was his final thought as he plummeted downwards towards the rugby goal-posts and was impaled, through the heart,  on one of the uprights.


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The Stuff of Nightmares ……Re-Blogged




I have always been fascinated by dreams.  They are such strange things, aren’t they ?

One wonders, sometimes, how on earth our brains invent the weird and wonderful scenarios that drift through our heads while we are asleep.

Sometimes I hover in that  ‘half-light’  …..neither dreaming nor awake …… not knowing if things are real or simply an illusion….a figment of my over-active imagination………



It is always dark around this enclosure of old, abandoned buildings.

In the height of the day, when the sun sears the surrounding country-side and turns the corn-fields into liquid gold;  when woodland animals shelter from the heat, in the cool, limpid shade of the leafy sycamores; even then a cold, dark, mist of gloom clings to the moss-covered stones of the old malting house.

A murky shadow hangs over the blackened stones of the tumbledown wall. The crumbling blocks lie decaying, like neglected teeth in an ogres mouth. Cockroaches, stag beetles and other, more hideously formed insects creep and crawl in every available crevice.

The courtyard is covered with unrecognisable detritus; it must be many years since this place was cleaned and hosed. Aeons since anyone cared.

Enormous cracks have opened up; deep ravines that seem to reach down to the very bowels of the earth.

Even to Hell itself !

Three tall, bare, leafless trees are starkly out-lined against the darkening sky. They are long dead. Nothing grows in the rancid soil. Only evil flourishes inside these walls.

A raven perches, malevolently, on an ebony branch; its cries alerting the buildings.

Someone approaches !

The structures seem to shift and settle, ominously. Shadows move, expectantly, from the hollow interior. Breathing; groaning; waiting ………

No-one comes here willingly………… Nothing of the day, that is.

Squirrels and foxes skirt the far edge of the field that lies beyond the ancient, dilapidated wall. Only bats and the omnipresent, giant, blue-black ravens, dare mingle with the gruesome, shadowy creatures that dwell in this place.

A rider appears from across the field.  He is a stranger; surprised to find himself here.  He passes a hand across his eyes as though to waft away some invisible veil…………

Curious about the eerie cluster of buildings, he advances. Night is falling and he is sleepy. Perhaps shelter can be found. But his steed pricks up its ears and stops. It senses danger; evil.

The man urges the horse forward, striking its rump with the riding crop and squeezing with his knees. The animal flares its nostrils and tracks hither and thither in distress; then rears up, tossing the rider from its back.

His vanity bruised, the stranger brushes himself with his gloved hands and clouds of dry, dusty clay fill the air. He remounts, flicking away a swarm of voracious midges that buzz, annoyingly, around his head.

Realising that his horse will go no further towards the edifices, he pulls on the reins and departs back across the meadow.  He turns, once, to take one last look at the strange buildings.

He is sure that he sees some movement by the rusted, iron gates. But it is only the flapping corner of an old, long-faded poster, lifting in the slight breeze. He turns away and the horse gallops off swiftly, taking them out of sight.

The words on the poster are no longer legible. Many years of wind and rain have long since erased them. But part of a face remains; darkly hooded eyes staring out. The eyes swivel sideways, following the rider as he disappears.

An air of disappointment falls over the courtyard.

“Next time ……….”   it seems to sigh.

Darkness falls and the moonlight plays strange tricks with the shadows in the black, cavernous interior of the malting house. Rats mingle with monstrous lizards and ghastly apparitions slink out from the very walls of this haunted place.

A malevolent evil fills the air.

This is the time these hideous creatures enjoy.

Night-time !

A time when the unsuspecting go to sleep.  That’s when they appear and fill your head with your most dreaded fears.

Perhaps you have been here ?

Walked in this frightful place ?

Found yourself suddenly awake;  shaking;  afraid ?

This is the stuff of nightmares ……………….



Posted in dreams, evil, fantasy, horror, Nightmares, short story, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

More Silly Verse




We have recently had quite a lot of rain.  I suppose this was welcomed by the farmers as we have enjoyed a relatively dry summer and early autumn. And I have been quite happy about the rain, too …… It means I don’t have to water my plant-pots and borders.

You see…Every cloud has a silver lining !

But, as the autumn season progressed, the glorious golden days have given way to a much cooler, damper feel.  In fact, yesterday the rain was “Stotting off the flags” ….as they say in the north of England. In other words, flipping well pouring down and the road was briefly transformed into a river.  …….. Oh not of Amazon proportions, but …..okay…… a little stream at least …..

Anyway, the rush of water reminded me of this poem.  I wrote it some time ago as a Countdown Word Game entry and, as my zumba poem was so well received, I thought,

“Ah, go on then”

And decided to re-post it …………………



I was feeling some elation,
We were nearing our salvation,
Though the beach still seemed a hundred miles away.
We were bruised and we were battered,
To be frank, we both were knackered
And had doubted we would make it through the day.


We had clambered up on board,
With a veritable hoard
Of life-preservers, sheets and cleats and charts.
Because, crazy it may seem,
We had both harboured a dream
To leave these shores and sail to foreign parts.


But, instead of gently sailing,
I had spent the whole day baling,
‘Cos I’m sure the boat had, somehow, sprung a leak.
I could not see the pleasure
In drowning, at my leisure.
Though I’m sorry if that makes me sound a freak.


The wind had not abated.
We really should have waited,
Before attempting such a voyage as this.
We were not such able sailors,
Used to trawlers and huge whalers.
Though Ben still relives the time he caught a fish !


The water was so choppy,
That Ben’s hands became all floppy.
And he lost an oar and round and round we went.
I tried to reach the oar,
But it drifted to the shore
Even though I pushed and pulled till I was spent.


On a big yacht, sat two hotties,
Wearing sunhats shaped like potties
And a haughty, costive sneer upon their lips.
So, though our listing was alarming,
I cried in tones, quite charming,
“Should we abandon ship, before it tips ?”


The relief made my brow sweaty
When we made it, to the jetty
And, exhaustedly, I commented to Ben,
” This boating, I’m not hearting,
Next time, let’s try karting !”
And the man called ” Time’s up! Come in number ten!”



In case you are wondering about some of the words I used…………………..

This was originally written for a Countdown Word Game and had to include the following words;


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‘Bursting’ into Verse

I love poetry;  I always have.

Even when I was a child I was totally fascinated by the rhythm and flow of poems and learned many ‘by heart’ …..whether it was  ‘homework‘  or not …… lol !

In those dark and distant schooldays we were lucky enough to receive the sort of interesting,  all-round education, that included masses of ‘general knowledge‘ and also basic appreciation of writers, playwrights and poets, that modern youngsters do not seem to have.  At least, not unless they ‘specialise‘ in the relevant subjects and even then I have met University graduates who majored in English Literature and yet do not know that Dickens wrote ‘The Old Curiosity Shop‘…..something that I found absolutely unbelievable.   

So, when I was 8 or 9,  I was enjoying the poems of Robert Frost, John Betjeman and Walter de la Mere …..then moving on to Shelley and Keats and all the other wonderful poets that I adore.  I was in heaven …..though I realise that not all of my classmates felt the same !

But ….and this is a flipping well great big  BUT  with bells on ……. I can’t write decent poetry.  If you were to offer me the weight of my arse (another big butt) in gold, I still couldn’t do it. Nope …..the best I can manage is a silly poem ….well more of a nonsense rhyme, really.  

 And, to prove my point, here is one I wrote a while ago. 




With the Winter months fast looming
And my deep concern for grooming
And generally keeping very fit.
I decided that I oughta
Take advice from my daughter
And resist the urge to do nothing but sit.


There’s a place down by the Humber,
That does ‘Boxercise‘ and ‘Zumba‘,
So I phoned them and joined up, on the spot.
But before I could get busy,
I was in a sort of tizzy,
Buying outfits that would make me look real ‘hot‘!


I bought a tiny vest and tights,
In colours known as “brights“.
My corneas were sore just looking at them.
But they fitted like a glove
And if I gave my tits a shove,
I was sure that the lycra would not flatten ’em !


Well the day of my first class
Dawned and I, as green as grass,
Placed myself right up there, at the front.
There were fatties and some thin girls,
With their hair done up, in loose curls.
But they jumped and danced and never made a grunt.


The instructor stood before me,
Like some super-star on TV
She waved her arms and wiggled legs and ‘tush‘.
I don’t need to remind you all
That I’m not young nor very tall
And certainly not used to such a rush.


But ambition flouts the rules;
The girl next to me, called Jools,
Was making me feel terribly declasse
She had mastered every move,
I really must improve,
So I vowed that I would really shake my chassis.


Well, I tried with all my might,
Though my clothes were rather tight
And a spasm suddenly caught me in the chest.
Then my ‘bangers‘ both fell out
And I gave a feeble shout.
Cos I’d only gone and split me little vest !


I was flustered and was blushing
I could feel my body flushing
And I almost hid my boobs…. with lots of straining.
But something made me pause.
It was the sound of loud applause !
The rugby team had turned up for some training.


Now, I do not want to shock,
But each night I lose my frock,
My bra and pants; but let me make it clear.
Hey, you lot, don’t you titter
Stripping makes me fitter
And I’ve found that its a lucrative career !



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A Touch of Magic



Well, we are 6 days past the Autumnal Equinox and the days are getting shorter. Sadly we must bid a fond farewell to summer and, as the Earth’s axis tilts, look towards winter and the colder days ahead. 

The autumn months are often thought to be the most mystical ……. autumn mists create an eerie atmosphere and Hallowe’en is full of magic, witches and all manner of things that go bump in the night.

So, with all this in mind, I thought I would post this story …… Its set in summer, so will, I hope,  bring back memories of halcyon days……… but also prepare you for the autumnal magic yet to come ………






Smiling, I gazed out of my open, kitchen door at the garden beyond. The sight pleased me,

There can’t be many patios as pretty as mine ”  I thought to myself, as I surveyed the alyssum and aubretia, tumbling over the retaining walls in purple and white splendour.

Sweet thyme grew between the slabs of crazy-paving, making an aromatic carpet and the honey-scented, coral flowers of lonicera entwined and tangled with the snowy-white sweet-jasmine blossom as it flung itself joyfully over the trellis archway.

I wandered out into the warm summer sun and gathered herbs from the many pots and tubs that were scattered about the terrace.  Rosemary, tarragon, basil, oregano and dill; they were all placed carefully into my willow basket.

Then I strolled down the three, wide steps that led from the paved area to the remainder of my beautiful garden.

A moorhen, proudly leading a little group of babies in a swim around my pond, darted warily into the soft rushes, then, seeing that it was only me, peeked out shyly and resumed its business, pecking idly at the duckweed.

My resident frog was much spunkier than the  ‘skitty coots‘; every movement piques his interest and he boldly sat on the leaf of a fragrant water-lily, winking cheekily up at me as I bent and dangled my fingers in the cool waters.

The large pond housed many bright, darting fish; shubunkins and golden orfe rubbed fins with common sticklebacks and the watchful eye of a heron surveyed the clear waters, as he stood sentinel among the tall bull-rushes. The heavy hum of the bees was cathartic, as they lazily buzzed in and out of the huge bell-shaped flowers of tall,  purple foxgloves. The sound mingled  with the gentle birdsong and all was peaceful and calm.




Loki, my huge, sleek black cat, purred as he weaved around my bare ankles, then stopped, abruptly, and arched his back, his thick fur bristling and his green eyes flashing, as a harsh sound interrupted our reverie.

Ah, yes, the flies in the ointment; our tormentors had returned.

I realise that, when someone new arrives in a small community, there is always a period of adjustment. Newcomers are objects of interest, I accept that.

But I had been here over a year, in this quaint cottage on the remotest edge of the village.  In that time most adults had accepted me and respected the fact that I was a pretty solitary person, who didn’t join in village activities.

However, there was a group of five or six village lads who were determined to annoy, harass and make me gnash my teeth with frustration, as I tried to ignore their taunts.

They threw stones, sometimes huge rocks and smashed my windows. They frightened the garden birds and tried to catch the fish in the pond.

Last November had been particularly trying for poor Loki. They had thrown fireworks and generally made his life a misery. So much so, that he had hidden under the large oak dining table, peering pitifully from behind the fringe of the heavy, ruby-red, chenille cloth and would only emerge when I tempted him with his favourite cat-mint tea.

The vandals had daubed graffiti on the garden shed and even on my pretty, primrose yellow, front door.

They had smashed pots of herbs and screamed “Witch” at every opportunity, it was all so unfair and nasty and no-one seemed to care. And here they were again, yelling abuse and kicking a football about in the narrow, tree-lined lane, beyond my gate.

Witch, witch, you are a bitch” they shouted, somewhat unimaginatively.

Then a jagged stone began its deadly orbit toward the little moorhen family, who huddled and cowered together in fright. Even my bold frog leapt into the cool safety of the deep, pond water.

I walked, cautiously, to the gate as the ring-leader, the muddiest, scruffiest-looking urchin, gesticulated lewdly and grinned,

“Wanna see me todger, missus ? Gorn….. I betcha ain’t seen now’t like this !!”

There were five of them and I guessed they must have been around 13 or 14 years old.

Yes, this was the usual gang, the ones who had caused me so much anguish.

I decided things could not go on like this, I had hesitated too long, I must do something to resolve the situation. I wanted to live in peace, I liked it here, but these boys had pushed me too far. It was time to make friends.

Hello, boys”, I beamed, and leaned over the gate, fully aware that my thin cotton camisole left nothing to the imagination. I ruffled the lacey hem of my long, tiered skirt, to cool my bare legs and beguilingly tossed the auburn curls that hung around my naked shoulders.

Gosh ! It is so hot today,”  I beamed as I fanned myself with a large dock leaf and took a deep breath… further enhance my bosom ……    “I wonder if you all would like to come inside for some cold, home-made lemonade ?”

Teenage boys are such victims of their hormones. They stood and stared for a second, taking in my friendly smile, suggestive wink and voluptuous body and then filed, eagerly through the gate. ………………………..



Smiling, I gaze out of my open, kitchen door. The scent of the sweet thyme mingles with the honeysuckle and lavender and the heavy, decadent perfume of the night-scented datura.

It is a perfect summer’s evening in my beautiful garden.

I wander out onto the patio and down the steps to the silver shimmer of the pool. The moorhen family are safe in their water-side nest and the huge cupped blooms of the water lilies are closing for the night,  but my bold frog still hops about on the huge, floating leaves.

And now he has companions. Five green frogs hop nervously about;  of course they will need time to become familiar with their new surroundings………………………………………..




Posted in autumn, flowers, humour, life, short story, summer, Uncategorized, witches, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

After the Laughter





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Margaret spooned coffee into the cafetiere as she waited for the kettle to come to the boil. A cup of strong, black coffee; yes, that is what she needed. Something to perk her up after this morning’s upset.


She gazed out of the kitchen window, across the leaf-strewn lawn and the beds of dying perennials, to the old oak at the bottom of the garden. It all looked so forlorn out there in the Autumn rain; the colours fading to deep purple and deep golden shades of brown………. Oh, she would miss him, but everyone left her eventually.

Her parents had left her when she was only 5 years old. They had died in an accident on treacherous mountain roads. Margaret had thought that it  “served them right!”.   After all, they had gone off on holiday, leaving her with her Grandma. She had heard their laughter as they drove away; had they been laughing at her, laughing because she was left behind ? Well then, they deserved to die, her distressed little mind had reasoned. She should have gone with them; she could have gone climbing in Tibet !

She poured the boiled water onto the coffee and closed her eyes as the delicious aroma filled the room, then she glanced out of the window again and sighed. …………Oh dear, she would miss him !

Grandma had done her best for Margaret.  She had loved her and cared for her and sent her to the best schools; but she could never really understand the strange little girl and her moods and tantrums.


The young Margaret found it difficult to make friends at school. The other children did not comprehend her strange ways, either. They laughed at her and Margaret hated that and so the serious, weird little girl became a solitary figure; teased and taunted and lonely.

A puppy was bought for this reclusive child and he became her only friend, never laughing at her or ridiculing her ways. For a time, Margaret was happy, but the puppy left her too; run over by a speeding car after wriggling through a hole in the hedge. Once again Margaret was alone and she felt that someone, somewhere was laughing at her.

She reached up and lifted her special china mug from the shelf, then counted to ten and pressed the plunger into the cafetiere.

Of course, the next one to leave her had been her Grandma. …………How dare she become ill, how dare she die ? Margaret remembered the sound of laughter echoing down the hospital corridor, as a group of nurses shared a box of chocolates.   How could people laugh when her life was falling apart ?

The executors of Grandma’s will had not known what to do with this strange child and so, as ample provision had been made, they sent her off to boarding school. Margaret toiled at her books as though she was possessed, ignoring the usual teasing and taunts from her peers. She was determined to do well; so well that no one would ever want to leave her or laugh at her ever again.

Margaret poured her coffee and smiled as she remembered the praise when she had gained a place at Oxford. Oh, no-one laughed then !

But University had been the same as school. The girls didn’t understand her and the boys, at first attracted by her pretty face and voluptuous figure, soon dropped her when they encountered her clingy, needy, weirdness.  They talked among themselves, comparing notes about the sexual exploits and laughed as they recounted her tears when they dumped her. So Margaret had worked hard, ignoring the social scene, studying late into the night; she would show them !

She picked up her mug of coffee and then, glancing down at her sweater and skirt, she noticed the mud. Ah, yes, the mud ! She had forgotten all about that in the confusion. She slipped off her sweater and, surveying the damage, she wrinkled her pretty nose,

I hope it won’t stain”  she thought.

It had been such a shock, finding him dead on the lawn; dear little squirrel Nutkins. He had been so tame, feeding from her hand everyday. She gulped back tears as she remembered how he used to sit on the kitchen windowsill, by the back door, waiting for her to bring out his daily feast of peanuts and other goodies. She had loved to see him playing among the branches of the old tree and then watch him forage in the hedge. She would sit out in the garden for hours, smiling as he scrambled up the bird-table and stole the bread-crumbs and fat-balls that were placed there for the robins.

And now he was dead, gone, lost forever.

She had discovered him, early this morning.  He was lying so still in the pouring rain and she had cradled him in her arms, tears rolling down her face ,as she wrapped his little body in a fluffy hand-towel and tried to rub life back into him………….. But he was dead, a victim, no doubt, of next-door’s huge tabby cat. Heartbroken, she had buried him in a deep hole in the roots of the gnarled, oak tree and as she gently smoothed the soil, she noted the musky smell of the rotting Autumn leaves; the smell of decay and loss.

He had been her only friend, well, except for Brad, of course.

She slid her soiled skirt down over her hips and popped it and the sweater into the washing machine. Oh,  if only she could be more pragmatic about little Nutkins. She managed to harden her heart about other things …..why not the beloved squirrel ?  She switched on the machine and sighed.

Her first class Oxford degree had helped her secure a position at one of the City’s largest Merchant Banks and she swiftly rose to the top. The Directors cared nothing for her strange ways, all they cared about was hard work and profit, both of which Margaret always delivered. She was single-minded, hard-working, never indulged in office gossip; in fact, she appeared to have no friends whatsoever. But this pleased her superiors, it ensured that all her attention was focused on the Bank ……… she was the ideal employee.
Brad was transferred to her department from the Birmingham branch and he was immediately attracted to this beautiful, aloof woman. No-one had ever understood her like Brad, he seemed to sympathise and bond with her and they began a tentative relationship. She was aware that their affair was discussed around the office; she knew the juniors sniggered whenever she left the room. But now she could do something about the laughter, this was what she had worked for.

The main offenders soon found themselves dismissed or transferred to some obscure suburban town, where they faced a difficult commute…………. Margaret’s power was absolute and her wrath was, indeed, terrible.

She picked up her coffee and then, once again, replaced it on the worktop as she heard a moan.
Brad had stayed the night and was standing in the kitchen, in his dressing gown, when she had burst in the back door, soaking wet and covered in mud. She had just buried Nutkins and tears coursed down her cheeks,

Oh, Brad,”  she had sobbed,  ” Squirrel Nutkins is dead !  ………… He was my best friend and now he is dead !”

Brad had taken one look at her mud-splattered clothes and he had laughed. LAUGHED !! ………..At her !!

Margaret sighed impatiently. Obviously the first blow hadn’t killed him, he was still moaning. Calmly, she picked up the long kitchen knife and plunged it, once more, into his stomach. Then, picking up her coffee, she stepped over his, now lifeless, body and, clad in her bra and knickers she wandered into the sitting-room.

Nobody laughed at her !  ……… NOBODY !


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