Silly Saturday – No News

Here are the news headlines.

At the international summit of newscasters it was unanimously decided to cease broadcasting news. This was in response to research that shows a constant diet of disasters and war has a detrimental effect on the mental health of individuals and the population as a whole. Experts also believe that constant attention to the behaviour of the worst world leaders and the narcissism of celebrities only encourages them.

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And in other news…
Cleaners were called to aisle nine at a Sainsbury’s supermarket after an incident involving a customer and a large jar of pickled beetroot. Broken glass was found at the scene, but no injuries were reported.

A family of five were left to survive on pot noodles when their planed meal ended in disaster. Mrs. Smith was quoted as saying ‘The butter was already melting in the frying pan for the omelette when I suddenly realised I had forgotten to buy the eggs.’

A man was left penniless when his local cash machine would not dispense any money. He was forced to walk two hundred yards up the high street to the next machine.

Residents were evacuated safely from a two storey block of flats when a fire alarm was accidentally set off.

 

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A passenger revealed the details of her nightmare journey when roadworks caused a traffic diversion. ‘I would have caught the number fifteen if I had known, I don’t usually get the number fifteen because it goes all round that estate where my sister used to live, though I used to get it when she did live there. Anyway, I got on the number fourteen outside Boots and low and behold I thought why are we turning here? I’m going to be late for the dentist… I started going to him in town as the ones round the corner were useless when I needed my root canal done. Five minutes late I was, though I needn’t have worried as the chap before me took extra time…

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Work has been delayed yet again on a pensioner’s shed after his drill bit broke. Staff at his local B&Q saved the day by showing him to aisle 17b where he found the correct size.

The search continues for a five year old missing since Boxing Day. The white and tabby cat named Tibbles was last seen under the Christmas tree. His owner, who asked not to be named, said he had never gone missing before and blames herself for being away from her computer. ‘He usually drapes himself over the keyboard as soon as I sit down at my desk.’

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Record numbers of shoppers did not attend the Boxing Day sales.

An unknown author was unable to post her blog as her new computer said ‘NO’. Returning from the Christmas break she switched it on, only to read constant messages saying it was updating and restarting.

blogger-recognition-2019

Friday Flash Fiction – Up In the Air

When Karina left her home in Bolivia to spend the last few weeks of the year with distant relatives in England, she was looking forward to curling up with a book by a roaring fire, Christmas shopping in large brightly lit stores and snow. She did not expect it to involve rubber suits and colourful parachutes.

The drive in the dark from Heathrow Airport had been endless; on the map of little England her cousins’ town had looked close to London.

When she was woken up the next morning it was still dark.

‘Sorry to wake you early Katrina,’ said Aunty ‘it’s an ordinary working day for us, but you relax and enjoy the start of your holiday. You won’t be on your own, we have students staying with us and I have four more coming in for a lesson this morning.’

There were young people coming and going and she wasn’t sure which were her cousins. One expectation came true, it was cold, the house was freezing. She was sent out to the shops with two of the students, as Aunty had to wait in for ‘The Gasman’ because ‘Centralheatingsontheblink.’

Outside, the prevailing colour was grey; the sky, the buildings, people’s clothes. But the students were friendly, assuming her to be one of them, completing a tally of one from each continent.

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The next morning was Saturday and the house had taken on a more relaxed atmosphere and brighter aspect; looking out of the front window Katrina realised the sky was a washed out blue instead of lowering grey.

‘Isn’t it a wonderful day,’ said Uncle ‘we have a treat for you, the boys are getting the gear ready, there’s a good breeze, you can help your aunt pack a picnic.’

Katrina wondered nervously if a treat for a girl from a land locked country would be a trip on a boat and if so, what sort of water was involved? In a house full of people she had soon realised that each assumed someone else had told her what was going on.

Outside the front of the house several young men were hoisting huge rucksacks onto their backs; a couple of girls beckoned her to follow. The sun was not as bright as back home, but it was so low in the sky it blinded her. They set off down the road and it came completely as a surprise to Katrina when they arrived at a cliff top and the ocean opened out in front of her. The sky above the water was blue, but a cold wind caused her to shrink inside the borrowed coat.

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Down a winding path they came to a beach and were not alone; people were strolling as if it was summer, young children played on the beach dressed in boots and bulky clothes and dogs of all shapes and sizes ran circles around everyone. Stranger things were to follow. She trailed after the others to a quiet stretch; her relatives looked as if they were setting up camp. Bags were ripped open; the young blokes dragged black rubber suits on, hauled out boldly coloured kites with tangles of line, then strapped themselves into harnesses. Karina thrilled to see the curling waves, but hoped she would not be expected to go near the sea. Even as she wondered what would happen next, the kites had floated into the air and turned into parachutes dangling the men like puppets; they jumped onto small boards skimming the waves. She watched the wind take them out to sea and her stomach flipped as a black and red curved canopy soared up, taking the young man high up into the air…

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Christmas Day

christmas 2019

Wherever you are today, enjoy your time and these last few days of the decade. I have to come off my life suport system – or rather my old recycled desk top is being replaced by a newer recycled, upgraded computer. I am quite expecting everything, words, pictures, email, Facebook and WordPress to be lost in the ether, never to be found again, but hopefully I shall see you all again on the other side.

The Power of the Written Word

My fellow Remainer and local blogger Grace sums up well what the past year has meant for many of us and also pays tribute to those people we meet in real life. Lots of us belong to groups of all sorts and they are an important part of our lives.

Anecdotage

So 2019 is grinding towards an end, and what a complex, mangled year it has been for us, here in the UK.

On our small island with its natural water barrier between us and the world, a civil war of words has raged since 2016, over whether we should pull up the drawbridge to our sea moat and withdraw into our brittle little shell or continue to relate with our nearest neighbours in the same convivial way we’ve enjoyed for 50 years.

I’m disconsolate to say to my overseas readers, not only that the drawbridge fans have won the war of words, but that all of we ordinary citizens, those of us who don’t have huge investments squirrelled away or are not hedge fund managers, who are not the fabulously rich elite and right wing newspaper owners, we have all lost.

I can’t dwell for too long on an issue…

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Blogger Recognition Award

Many thanks to author and blogger Mary Smith for nominating me for the Blogger Recognition Award 2019. Mary has led a very fascinating and varied life, so her books and blogs are well worth reading. You can read Mary’s Blogger Recognition post here.

https://marysmithsplace.wordpress.com/2019/12/20/marysmithsplace-the-blogger-recognition-award-a-thank-you-to-bloggers-who-support-so-generously/
Sally Cronin created this design for the award.

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Here are the guidelines attached to the award.
1.Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
2. Write a post to show your award.
3. Give a brief story of how your blog started.
4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
5. Select up to fifteen bloggers you want to give this award to; often bloggers throw this guideline open for awards, especially when everyone is busy with Christmas or just busy… So I am nominating the Spirits of Blogging Past, Present and Future… These three spirits are imaginative, helpful to other bloggers, considerate, kind and often very amusing, in fact very like the bloggers I follow…
6. Comment (or pingback) on each blog to let them know that you’ve nominated them and provide a link to the post you’ve created.
If you want to help the Spirits out, join in the award or just answer an end of decade question in the comments – find the question after my answers…
1. How My Blog Started: My first blog was on Goodreads and I called it Sandscript, I wrote quite a few and I guess they will float around in the ether for ever… But I realised that everyone else was on WordPress and having more fun, so I started Tidalscribe with the aim of trying to blog at least once a month, now it’s three times a week at least. The reason for blogging? Anyone who writes a book is told to do that, but blogging quickly becomes more than that.
4. Advice for new bloggers.   A. Read lots of other blogs, follow bloggers that are interesting, engaging and helpful; make interesting comments and engage with them – this is the best way to learn about blogging.
B. It’s your blog, so you can do what you like, it’s not school. Post words and pictures about what interests you, but will also appeal to others. Most of us don’t make pots of money selling our books and we would soon lose followers if we constantly hit our readers over the head with our latest novel. Your blog will be on the internet forever – perhaps – so make every blog your best writing, you never know who might be reading it.
Now the Question, don’t think for too long, just answer in the comments.

What will your first blog for 2020 be about?

Silly Saturday – Christmas Cards

If you haven’t posted your Christmas cards yet it’s probably too late, except for the hand delivered ones and why would you give cards to people who live nearby? Why do we put ourselves through Christmas card angst? What has gone on behind the scenes before those cards come through your letter box?

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Christmas Cards

I sat down to write the Christmas cards while Terry was watching the football. I was going to be ruthless this year, especially with the price of stamps; no cards for people we were going to see anyway or for people we were never going to see again. That would mean sending hardly any cards at all… Terry roused himself to take an interest, though I couldn’t hear him properly with the television on; why do football commentators have to scream and shout, why can’t they just say quietly and calmly…

…looks like he’s going to get it in the net and save the match, oh dear what a pity, he’s missed.

‘Did we get a card from Brian and Jean?’ said Terry.

‘Oh you mean Alan and Sara, yes, last week, they must do theirs in October. Did you see the card from John and Julie?  Well you should be interested, he’s your ex colleague. They’ve got another grandchild… yes you did, Harry’s nearly three now, we sent him that present. Don’t you want to know whether it’s a boy or girl? Guess what they’ve called her… Faustine… unless it’s the bad handwriting.

Are we sending a card to Geoff and Val? You remember, they went to Spain, well they’re back now, Euro trouble. They say we must meet up. No nor do I, I’ll just put Look forward to seeing you in the New Year.

Oh, Deborah says Stephen is engaged to Vicki… she doesn’t say who she is, but it’s about time, I guess they want us to know he isn’t gay after all.

How shall I address the envelope to Wendy? Of course we’re going to send her a card, just because she walked out on your brother…

Shall I save some cards for you to take to the office? I bet they call you Mr. Grumpy, still just as well, we haven’t got many left.

What’s the name of Amelia’s youngest? You should know, they’re your nieces and nephews.

Hasn’t it finished yet… not extra time again… I don’t know why you bother watching football it’s always nil-nil. No I haven’t finished yet, I’ve only got as far as the Ms, I should have bought more stamps.’

 

Friday Flash Fiction – Community Centre

The sky was clear, the temperature had dropped and the first frost had arrived; the town viewed from the hill looked beautiful. The water sparkled under the full moon and the roofs and tops of trees formed a colourful pattern, but Joe prayed for high tides and rain again, hoped the river would continue rising and the water would stay. Joe wasn’t his real name; it was one of half a dozen he had given to people at the community centre.

Now it was time to get back before everyone settled down for the night. He greeted a couple of women, then tiptoeing past sleeping children, headed for the kitchen to help with the evening round of cocoa and coffee. His volunteer badge had been borrowed off someone’s jacket. In the confusion of the last week many people were strangers to each other and with his helpful and cheerful manner Joe had made new friends. Truth to tell, Joe had no friends in this town until the storms and floods. Before it featured in the news, the little town was just another anonymous place in Joe’s wanderings around the country.

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When tedious officials came round form filling Joe told them he had been sleeping on a friend’s sofa, gave a false name and address for the mythical friend, then changed into a different outfit from the collection of clothes donated by kind residents lucky enough to live on the hill. It was a long time since he had been so warm and comfortable.

Now he had a fantasy; houses took for ever to dry out, especially in winter. Lots of people would go to relatives, or be given emergency accommodation, priority to families and the elderly he presumed. But he hoped enough people would be left to keep the community centre open till Christmas. Perhaps he could learn to cook, help prepare a Christmas dinner….

Short stories for all seasons in my four collections –

have a peep inside or download for only $us 1.28

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Christmas Party – Just One Wish – Guests, Food, Music and laughter

It’s Christmas party time at Smorgasbord today, with music of all sorts and a Fairy Godmother to grant wishes. There’s lots to see and do so pop in and out all day.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

The theme for this year’s party is ‘Just One Wish’. We are all familiar with the story of Cinderella and her Fairy Godmother, who was pretty liberal with that magic wand of hers and managed to turn a pumpkin into a golden carriage.

Unfortunately, she has long since retired and hung up her wand, but because I asked nicely (and she would like me to promote her memoir –The Prince Charmings I have Known!) she has agreed to allow my guests, just one wish…

My thanks to everyone who sent in their special wish and with a great deal of positive thought from us all, and of course a little assistance from the magic wand of the Fairy Godmother, they might just come true…

Please help yourself to food and drink and if you would like to dance on the tables… that is great. You will…

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Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Christmas Music with William Price King – Carol of the Bells and For unto us a child is born

Join in more festive fun at Smorgasbord with one of Sally’s regular guests choosing festive music. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir are sure to liven and brighten your day.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

As we get closer to Christmas, William Price King shares more music to get us into the festive spirit.

“Carol of the bells” was composed by Mykola Leontovych in 1914, based on the Ukrainian folk chant “Shchedryk “,with lyrics by Peter J. Wilhousky. The song is based on a four-note ostinato and has been performed in many musical genres. Performed here by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir

“For unto us a child is born” -Sir Colin Davis conducts the London Symphony Orchestra, Susan Gritton, Sara Mingardo, Mark Padmore, Alastair Miles and the Tenebrae choir in “For Unto Us a Child is Born” from Handel’s Mesiah, composed in 1741.

William Price King is an American jazz singer, crooner, and composer.

His interest in music began at an early age when he studied piano and clarinet in high school. At Morehouse College in Atlanta where he grew up, he sang in the Glee…

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Big Christmas Issues

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It’s hard to believe three years have gone by since I wrote a blog about the Big Issue. A lot has changed since then, Bob the Cat has become famous… and a lot has not changed. The price of a Big Issue is the same, £2.50 and £3.00 in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Sellers buy it for half that price.  Homeless people are still with us. Not all Big Issue sellers are homeless, but I’m pretty certain they are not living at the better end of the housing market.

James, the chap I bought my first Big Issue from, was on his pitch for a good while and was easy to chat to; Big Issue sellers are as varied as any group of people and the ones standing up, who are easy to talk to make it more comfortable. It is better to be looking up to someone as an ordinary person earning a living, than looking down on someone huddled on the pavement.

One day James wasn’t there any more, then another chap, Mark, appeared and said James had got a job and a place to live. The page I first turn to is the seller of the week, giving a glimpse into lives on a positive note. Mark has somewhere to live, but it doesn’t sound very secure or salubrious.

Of course the issues remain the same as in my first blog, you pass other Big Issue sellers and feel guilty because you already have this week’s edition. We have a woman at our local shops who I often buy from and have ended up buying the same issue from her and Mark. But buying the Big Issue is a much simpler issue than our attitude to the homeless or those who approach you asking for money.

Shoppers, eyes lowered, pass hurriedly by people huddled in shop doorways; they are embarassed or not sure, or wonder why people from all over the world have jobs in their local shops and restaurants, while this young able bodied person is just sitting in a doorway. Perhaps they would rather spend their hard earned money buying goods for the food bank box. The local council has homeless outreach teams, but people aren’t always easy to help. On local Facebook groups it is always a topic guaranteed to raise disagreement; give food or money? Genuine or con artist?

If we have very cold weather this happens…

Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP)

St Mungo’s, the rough sleeper team, will be making every effort to offer shelter to all people sleeping rough during extreme weather.

Does that make us feel less guilty because we know for sure  something is being done?

 

As for the magazine, it is a good read, so if you have never bought a copy try it, spalsh out three pounds on a Christmas edition. The cover in the picture was the winner of a competition for children to design a cover and had many entries.

Read my blog from 2016.

https://tidalscribe.wordpress.com/2016/12/15/christmas-issue/