Silly Saturday – How to Cheat at Best Sellers

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If there is anything better than writing a best seller, it is writing a best selling series and a best selling series in a popular genre is sure to be a winner. The way to fame is for your series to be adapted for television, so that everyone knows you have written lots of best selling books, even if they haven’t read them.

Fame may come at a price, murder. Crime thrillers are always popular with the public and that’s not hard to understand; we all like to participate in the thrills without actually being killed ourselves. We all like to guess who did it from the comfort of the sofa without having to pound dark alleyways or lonely moors.

You only need three things for your fabulous fiction.

One or more dead bodies.

One or more detectives.

An interesting setting.

Optional extras are a few interesting characters who insist on getting involved in the investigation.

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I love a good crime thriller and some knitting after dinner, we all need a break from writing and computers. At Cheztidalscribe sub titles are our favourites; everything from gritty Paris to dark brooding Wales, from sunny Sicily to bracing Iceland. At present we are watching Trapped, set in a small town in Iceland; the fact that this fascinating country only has three hundred thousand people does not hold them back from having plenty of murders.

Much as I love hearing different languages and seeing a change of scenery, not speaking the language and never having visited are good reasons not to try and write novels set in another country. But there is still plenty of scope for new crime thrillers set in the British Isles. Popular novels can be set in ancient university towns; Morse in Oxford, Granchester in Cambridge. Then there are gritty cities such as Rebus in Edinburgh. Equally popular are quiet villages with an unbelievably high rate of crime, Midsomer Murders or islands such as Shetland where bodies appear at an alarming rate for Jimmy Perez to deal with.

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So let’s choose a place with beautiful scenery and scattered remote houses which the police can never get to in time. A detective who must be divorced or widowed and a local population who don’t trust him, because he is an outsider. His only friends are a simmering love interest with a fisherman’s wife and the local vet, doctor or vicar who helps solve every case. The detective inspector can be of either sex, but their constable or sergeant will always be of the opposite sex.

I am going to set my series on the beautiful Scottish Inner Hebrides island of Iona, I have only been there once, for a few hours, but that won’t deter me. There are only about 120 permanent residents and it is only three miles long, but that needn’t prevent them having a serial killer; with lots of tourists coming over on the little Caledonian MacBrain ferry who knows what could happen and as visitors’ vehicles are banned this gives the police a head start on chasing them.

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When television producers adapt your thrilling best seller there may be some compromise. Your stocky dark brooding hero is replaced by a well known tall blond actor and they film most of it on the mainland because it’s cheaper. The programmes are so popular you have to write more novels at a frantic pace, if not you will find your intelligent stories replaced by increasingly ridiculous plots and your name will appear only at the end of the credits – based on the characters created by…

But the good news is your book will now appear at the front of the book store with the covers your friend designed with his holiday photos replaced by dramatic pictures of the television star on location.

Good luck.

 

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Flash Fiction Friday – 963 – Stolen Identity

sunshine blogger award

Amelia DeVere was dreading her birthday; Brian and the girls were coming round with her present, a lap top. They had given her several other choices; a clever phone, an eye mask, a lozenge or was it a capsule? She had plumped for the lap top, at least she wouldn’t be expected to put it in her handbag and use it. She was quite happy with her mobile phone that didn’t take pictures, buttons 1, 2 and 3 were programmed for the local mini cab firm, Jenny next door and Brian.

But Amelia had not realised the full implications of her choice until it was too late.

You’ll be able to Facetime Aunty Phoebe in Canada and see pictures of the new baby on Facebook.

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‘I just want to do e-mails’ said Amelia, on the offensive as she answered the door on her birthday morning.

‘Of course, we need to do that first. But just think Gran, you would have been the first to know Constanza was expecting, instead of the last.’

Just as Brian’s marriage was breaking up, her younger son Roger had got his act together and met someone. It didn’t appear they were going to get married, but now she was pregnant they had reluctantly left the Orangutan sanctuary and returned to Constanza’s hometown, Melbourne.

She was soon sending Roger an e-mail, AmDev@gmail.com

‘Can we have lunch now?’ she pleaded.

‘In a mo Gran, let’s just look at Facebook and make sure there are no other Amelia DeVeres… oh look, there are…

Are you this Amelia DeVere?

They all laughed at the young woman with spiky rose pink and sky blue hair, but then Amelia felt rather miffed at seeing a member of the family she didn’t know.

‘That’s probably not her real name Mum,’ said Brian ‘look, she’s an author, got her own author page.’

‘Can we look at it?’

‘No, you have to be her friend.’

‘I don’t need to be her friend if I’m a relative.’

The screen was flashing, artificial fingernails were skimming across the keyboard.

‘Here’s her Amazon page,’ said her granddaughter ‘…author of fruity romances Strawberries in Surmmer, Peaches for Pandora, hundreds of reviews… The book every twentysomething must take on holiday, published in paperback and on Amazon Kindle.’

‘Let’s read a preview’ urged her sister.

Amelia had to admit she was quite impressed that they could turn the pages of a pretend book. ‘Let me read, I’m getting used to this lap top… Pandora ran her slender manicured fingers through the dark hairs on Mickael’s chest, then across his firm tanned stomach, bringing to life his…’ she peered closer with her bi-focals at the small print ‘bringing to life his what?’

‘I don’t think that’s your sort of book Mother’ said Brian, hastily moving his large hands across the keyboard.

Images flashed across the screen, more frantic tapping by the girls.

‘Look Gran, Uncle Roger’s accepted you as a friend, they must still be up, probably midnight there.’

Suddenly the bemused grandmother was confronted with a black and white picture of an alien, but her granddaughters screamed with delight.

‘It’s a boy, you’re going to have your first grandson.’

‘They can’t have had the baby already.’

‘No, they’ve just had the scan to tell the sex; four hours ago 23 comments and 40 likes already, you can make a comment.’

‘That’s revolting, looks like one of their Orangutans.’

‘We all looked like that once, in the womb, I can’t believe how ultrasound has improved since we had the girls,’ said her son ‘but I don’t think I would put it on Facebook.’

The girls giggled ‘We can’t put what Gran said, how about Wonderful news, do u want to Facetime tomorrow?’

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Over lunch the girls discussed Constanza and why there were no pictures of her on Facebook and would Dad pay for them to visit their new cousin, but Amelia returned to the subject of the other Amelia.

‘Of course I would know if she was a real DeVere, can I complain if she’s an impostor?’

‘Let’s Google and see what else we can find out.’

‘Yes, never mind the dishes, let’s get back on the lap top’ she said.

She was surprised to see her own DeVeres mentioned, but it was Amelia the novelist who had page after page of blue writing devoted to her, image after image came up as they visited websites. The young woman was everywhere, The Word Hut, Writers’ Room, Romantic Novelists Association, Twitter, she even had her own Blog.

‘Why does she think we want to know how the romantic holiday with her gorgeous man went?’ puzzled Amelia.

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But after the family had left she felt compelled to switch the lap top on and practice her new skills. She couldn’t resist Googling Amelia. The writer was planning to attend literary festivals and book signings, perhaps it would be possible to see her in the flesh…

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A few days later the grandmother’s notebook was full, she was pretty certain she had looked up every internet mention of Amelia and written it down, she had also read the openings of all her books. She wasn’t even very good at writing, the older woman wondered how she had become so famous.

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A week later the door bell rang; Amelia DeVere was very surprised when a plain clothes policeman introduced himself. He was equally surprised to find she lived alone.

‘D.I. Benson, C.C.U. Cyber Crime Unit. We’re investigating the stalking of a young woman, she has been trolled on Twitter, someone’s hacked into her e-mails, various other online abuses… I can’t go into details. We noticed that the most on line activity connected to her internet presence was coming from this locality, we may need to take your computer away to be examined.’

 

Read more short stories in my four collections;

from 99 pence.

 

 

Silly Saturday – How to Cheat at Quizzes

There have always been quizzes on television and radio, plenty for every taste; some requiring no knowledge or intelligence at all, while others cater for super brained polymaths. I like the ones that just get on with asking the questions. I wouldn’t dream of actually going on one myself; I don’t like having my photograph taken, let alone appearing on television. Radio would be fine, but there would still be the embarrassment of brain freeze; my mind goes blank, even in my own living room.

The quiz cheat needs only pen and paper; mark a column for each person in the room. Whatever the quiz, the person who answers first gets one point. We chanced upon Mastermind one evening and one contestant, a teacher, did not get any questions right in the general knowledge. Very embarrassing, we wondered if his pupils were watching, but without the annoying interference of the contestant answering first I scored quite a few points.

On University Challenge, never mind if each question gets ten points and five deducted for a wrong answer, you get just one point. The teams will be in the hundreds while my score will be 9 if I’m lucky or more likely 1 as happened this week. It is no use saying

I knew that, it was on the tip of my tongue.  Or

Mozart, I told you… I just got the name of the opera wrong

I was going to say that..

If you have forgotten what was the beginning of the question by the time Jeremy Paxmen gets to the end, you could just give up, but why not try looking intelligent as he briskly recites

Take the numbers in the periodic table of all the elements on the planet Mars, add them together and multiply by the Fibonacci Sequence

While the teams are busy consulting each other, move your lips and frown. When the answer comes up throw your hands up in despair and claim you nearly got it.

The best way to cheat though is if you are on your own. Even if your brain can’t retrieve the name or your mouth can’t say Leonardo Da Vinci, you know it was  that chap who did Mona Lisa and the painting is in that place in Paris with the glass pyramid… give yourself a point.

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If you listen to a radio quiz you can cook or wash the floor at the same time, yelling out the answers. Counterpoint is a good quiz on all kinds of music; give yourself a point if you recognise the piece or song, can remember where you heard it, but have no idea who the composer or singer is. The best fun is when none of the three contestants can think of the answer, or get it wrong; then you can jeer at them…

Vivaldi, how could you possibly think it was Vivaldi or

Surely everyone knows that is the Beach Boys

Have you ever been on a quiz show? How did you get on?

Friday Flash Fiction – 345 – Little Weed

LITTLE WEED, THE LONG YEARS OF ABUSE

The old gardener’s hands trembled as he picked up the newspaper from the door mat. He slipped out to his potting shed as he heard Mrs. Gardener coming down the stairs.

He laid the paper on the old bench, sunlight barely filtered through the cobwebbed windows, but it was enough to read the main article.

Detectives from Operation Motherwatch are investigating claims that Little Weed was abused for years by one or more flowerpot men. The identity of the flowerpot men is not known, but they have been named locally as Bill and Ben.

The shock allegations follow on from last week’s claims that Looby Loo was abused by both Andy Pandy and Teddy. If Little Weed’s claims are true it will be the first time a plant has made such a serious allegation.

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The gardener had never believed people who said they did not know what was going on, now he had to come to terms with the fact that he knew nothing about what was going on at the bottom of his own garden. But surely Bill and Ben were innocent, perhaps it was some other flowerpot men… Little Weed could be vindictive, she was not the shrinking violet people thought. If only he knew where she was now. It was all Alan Titchmarsh’s fault. The Gardener had come back from recording Gardeners’ Question Time to discover his wife had arranged a makeover; only the potting shed remained. Gone were the greenhouse, vegetable beds, earthenware pots; all replaced by decking. And gone too was Little Weed. Mrs. Gardener was always jealous of the plant, said he talked to her more than his own wife… perhaps that was true… she was no ordinary weed, the first weed to appear on BBC Television and there had been none like her since… She was tough, a survivor, he was thankful she was still alive, but why now, why such allegations now, after all this time? And if it was true, was it Bill or was it Ben?

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Sunshine Blogger – 2

sunshine blogger award

Carol at Blog: https://carolcooks2.com/ has kindly nominated me for Sunshine blogger Award.

Visit Carol’s blog for plenty of sunshine, good food, healthy living and fun.

The Rules….Well, there are always rules are there not?

Thank the blogger who nominated you in a blog post and make a link back to their blog.

Answer the 11 questions sent to you by the person who nominated you.

Nominate up to 11 new blogs to receive the award, and then write them 11 new questions – or cheat and use the same questions 🙂

List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or your blog

Here are Carol’s questions  and my answers.

  1. Marmite or Vegemite…Think carefully…lol 

Both, I liked Vegemite when we lived in Australia, I love Marmite ( spread thinly ! ) on toast when I’m in the mood.

2. If you were stranded on a desert island what two books and 3 music albums would you take and why?

This had me stumped. Not very original, but I think I should take the complete works of Shakespeare; I certainly haven’t read all he wrote, all life is there and it would take a long time to read, so I wouldn’t be bored while waiting for rescue. And for something light, Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome, an hilarious trip down the Thames in an age I romantically think I would enjoy; it would also remind me of where I was born and many other happy times by the Thames. Albums even harder, I love so much music of all sorts I would probably get fed up with just three.

3. What or who scares you the most and why?

Fire; it can pop up anywhere caused by terrorists, war, accident or nature.

4. If you could choose who would be your next door neighbour …Who would it be and why?

My sister. We live on opposite sides of the world, too far. I’m sure we would both prefer not to actually live in the same house, but we could pop in and out and look after each other’s gardens and dogs. I haven’t got a dog, but if my sister lived next door I would get one.

5. Having a dinner party? Who would be your 8 guests dead or alive, famous or infamous and why?

A bit worrying that I had to think about this… out of all the billions of people in the world, but after a few days I came up with some possibilities. Greaves, my favourite character in my trilogy. He strolled into the first book uninvited, nameless and ended up writing his own story for the second; he is kind, wise but vulnerable and has experienced  a very different life that I want to hear all about. I love listening to the radio and a varied selection of some of my favourite presenters will make this a dinner party to remember; Michael Ball on BBC Radio 2 has a lovely speaking voice, Brian Cox on Radio Four is enthusiastic about science and would love answering impossible universal questions. Woman’s Hour has accompanied me through life since I was pregnant the first time and the presenters feel like friends, so we’ll have Jenni Murray, Jane Garvey and Lauren Laverne who presents Late Night Woman’s Hour and is at present hosting Desert Island Discs, voted greatest radio show of all time, one of my earliest memories – it has been going since 1942 and is still inspiring questions for bloggers! I must invite my sister, she wouldn’t want to miss this dinner party and Greaves is one of her favourites. Now my eighth guest… I thought why not, why not invite Jesus. What would he really be like, would the other guests even recognise him?

6. Chillies do you love them or hate them?

Hate, I don’t do HOT

7. Would you change anything about your blog and what would it be?

I would have animations and me as a cartoon.

8. Your three favourite foods ...

 Cheese, rice, roasted red peppers

9. Cats or Dogs?

Dogs – see above

10. What is your pet hate? Mine is.. I cannot stand anyone digging at the butter.. scrape it nicely…

Litter Bugs of any sort.

11. Which of your blog posts is representative of you? Please add a link.

I hadn’t realised I wrote this over two years ago.

https://tidalscribe.wordpress.com/2017/02/04/opting-out/

 

Here are the bloggers I have nominated, people I follow regularly or who I have just discovered. Will they  like the challenge or enjoy a bit of fun? No pressure, have a go at some or all of the questions, if you have the time or feel in the mood. Anyone else who wants to have a go is welcome.

https://gracelessageing.wordpress.com/2019/02/24/bajan-escape/

https://rachelmankowitz.com/2019/02/23/snow-and-a-haircut/

https://crowonthewire.com/2019/03/05/cupcakes-by-mark-tulin-friday-flash-fiction/

https://whatwordsmaycome.com/2019/03/07/splinter-15-minute-fiction/

https://thestoriesinbetween.com/2019/03/06/a-little-longer/

https://popsiclesociety.com/2019/03/07/dont-think-too-much/

My Questions

1.Tell us three things about the place and country where you live now.

2.Can you name a teacher you remember for their influence or words of wisdom?

3.Have you been to a school reunion, if so were you glad you went?

4.If money or rarity were not problems, what would you like for your next birthday present?

5.If you were stranded on a desert island with nothing and let’s face it, if you were shipwrecked you are not likely to have your favourite books etc. Would you rather have any person with you or be alone?

6.If you were offered a part as an extra in a film, what would you like to be?

7.If reincarnation is true, who or what would you be next time?

8. What is your favourite mode of transport?

9.City, suburbs or rural retreat?

10.What is your idea of a dream night out?

11. When you are buying birthday cards do you choose flowery or funny ?

 

 

 

Silly Saturday – How to Cheat at Journalism

TERROR GRIPS QUIET CUL-DE-SAC AS BODY IS FOUND

Report by Charli Dickenson for Sunnytown Gazette

Police were called to Primrose Close, Sunnytown this morning following reports of a suspicious death.

Mr. Ron Wood was just returning from fetching his newspaper when he was shocked to see blue lights flashing. Talking to News South at lunchtime he said it was normally very quiet in their neighbourhood.

Mrs Anne Fletcher told Sunnytown Gazette that she had been out walking her four year old Labradoodle Rosie in the Sunnytown memorial recreation ground when she was startled by sirens. On returning to Primrose Close she was very worried to see an ambulance and thought it might be Mr Trotter at number six, with his heart.

‘Then I saw ambulance crew going into number nine, I don’t know her name, I think it’s her son who comes once a week. Then a police officer, in one of those yellow jackets, says do you live here Madam and I said number three, what’s happened and he replied he wasn’t at liberty to say.’

Mr. Bert Todd who lives next door to the bungalow being investigated thought it might be an incident involving plutonium and said they had never had plutonium in Primrose Close before.

Police later confirmed that a ninety nine year old woman had died in her home at Primrose Close of natural causes.

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Fewer people are buying paper newspapers these days and local newspapers are also under threat. If you have bought a local newspaper lately you may well have lost the will to live, or at the very least wished you hadn’t bothered. You could go on line and look at the same news for free, but that is even more depressing if it features comments by the public; the public being those who have nothing better to do or no one else to listen to their opinions.

The comments usually look like this, only ten times as long.

Comment deleted.

The Sunnytown Gazette does not tolerate comments that are abusive.

Another shop brake in, oviously the yusyool yobs from..

Comment deleted

People over eighty shouldn’t be allowed to drive.

Hanging’s too good for them

Comment deleted

Comment deleted

Are the days of real journalists and press photographers over?

Newspapers just have to wait for readers to send in their own photographs or report instantly from their mobile phones as incidents are actually happening.

 We are all journalists now, but to be a top journalist you have to have a blog. Bloggers are the new press, but we don’t have to worry about keeping our editor happy. Whether you present daily reports on your dog or political commentary on world events you are a journalist. Your blog is a newspaper with colour supplements, far more interesting than the heavy Sunday papers.  But we still share something with the printing presses of old, we are usually up late at night getting the next edition out.

 

 

Friday Flash Fiction 400 – The Yellow Door

‘So Mrs Green, take this prescription with you and leave by the second door on the left.’

Mrs. Green trudged wearily along the dreary corridor of the surgery then hesitated at the yellow door. She had never noticed it before, there was no number or name. Warily she pushed it open and was blinded by a bright light, sunlight. Shielding her eyes, she realised she was in a beautiful walled garden. The old lady had often wondered what lay at the back of the doctors’ surgery.

A child’s laughter floated towards her and a little figure appeared running along the gravel path. The child stopped then ran back to a young woman sitting on a garden seat, head back, eyes closed. The older woman approached, but seeing the blissful expression on the mother’s face she perched herself on the other end of the bench, not wishing to disturb her. The child shot off again and Mrs. Green looked around for a father or granny, concerned he might run away, but the garden was safely enclosed. She noticed other seats, other people sitting or strolling and up in an old apple tree several children were perched.

The old lady unfolded the prescription.

NHS Therapy 3,000 hours of sunshine,  to be taken daily. If you miss a dose take double the next day.

There must have been a mistake, now she would have to go back and ask about her tablets, but in the meantime she needed a rest. The scent of the flowers brought back childhood memories. A stroll along the path to admire the herbaceous borders would be very pleasant, but first she would close her eyes and feel the sun on her face. The happy chatter of the children was soothing and she was so glad she had come to the doctors’ this morning, although she could not recall which of her conditions she had come to see him about.

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Doctor Brown gazed out of the upstairs window of the staff room and turned to his colleague.

‘Who would have guessed it would work so well, of course this weather helps, but rain hasn’t put off the diabetes type 2 group. They were glad of it after all the planting they’d done.’

‘Yes, the pharmacist says she’s issuing half the prescriptions, especially for anti-depressants and blood pressure medication.’

‘…and the attention deficit disorder group are doing much better at school.’

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The Game of Life – 42

Warning: Do you dare to play the game of life? If you don’t want to read about illness and death or you dislike dark humour please avoid this blog, but I hope you will continue to visit my Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday blogs.

The Number Game

Fans of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy will know Douglas Adams said 42 was the answer to the meaning of life, the universe, and everything. Geeks everywhere are still trying to prove that. But it is the number of our wedding anniversary last week and also a multiple of three. Three can be viewed as a significant if you want to play the number game; for Christians there is the Holy Trinity, for artists there are three primary colours and for photographers a picture of three is viewed as superior to a picture of two. Three colourful boats in a harbour are more satisfying to look at than two boats.

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My parents both came from families of three siblings, had three of us and we had three children, though our children have no intention of continuing this trend. My mother was 93 at the weekend, thus making four generations with ages in multiples of three. Mother, sister, three children, four grandchildren ( if you count 0 ), great niece and myself are all in multiples of three – for a few months at least. I’m twice the age of my youngest child, eleven times the age of my granddaughter – WHAT! My mother can’t believe she is 93 and 31 times as old as two of her great grandchildren… where is all this leading? Absolutely nowhere, I’m just leading you up the garden path…  though you could try working out my age…

There are numbers and patterns throughout nature; scientists like deciphering patterns and mathematicians love making sequences while the rest of us just get on with life.

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The Bridge Between Life and Death

The second dose of the second type of chemotherapy has not interfered much with Cyberspouse’s life, so with the weather forecast springing optimistic we ventured west to St. Ives, Cornwall – 198 miles, another multiple of three – our first away of the year, for three nights. It was thick fog all the way down, but our two full days there were fine weather. Day two was devoted to old mine and coast landscapes already visited by Cyberspouse with his photography friends. Beautiful scenery with black jagged rocks, turquoise seas and snow white surf, but he didn’t tell me about the walk of death. To him it was a wide footpath he and his mates had crossed before, to me it was a perilous bridge too far with a lethal drop either side likely to result in a major operation by the coastguard, air sea rescue ( yes the one Prince William used to fly with ) lifeboat, mountain rescue and Devon and Cornwall Police to record the major incident.

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The photograph doesn’t really do justice to the danger. I don’t like heights so I stayed back to dial 999 and anticipate how I would explain to police, press and family – no he didn’t want to end it all dramatically,  he just wanted to take a photograph. There was much precarious playing around with the tripod, but no incident. I have to confess that when we walked round the cliff on a safer path the grassy ledge he had been standing on looked bigger than from the bridge view.

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You can read more about Cornwall in my Wednesday blogs.

 

https://tidalscribe.wordpress.com/2019/02/20/winter-weekend-west-part-one/

 

 

Silly Saturday – Stream of Consciousness

Today is another in my occasional series of guest blogs by family members. This is a stream of consciousness written on a mobile phone on a plane – prepare for take off!

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Ladies and gentlemen there will now be a break in the service to allow the crew to have a break.

The crew need a break do they? I need a break as well!

This is going to be a whinge. I don’t whinge that often but I’m about to right now, so get ready.

This time last year I was still chuckling to myself about the Guild of Master Sunbed Arrangers while flying back to Blighty. I say Blighty because of a recent commitment to watch every series of Dad’s Army on dvd. The language of your current binge watch TV programme can rub off on you in a big way if you don’t watch anything else. I also learned that they said TTFN ( ta ta for now ) back then, which surprised me as I thought it was a 90s yuppie thing.

Before I digress, I was about to discuss flying back from holiday. It’s a five hour flight, which is probably about my limit for a little winter holiday on this type of airline. I recently went on a big long haul plane and let me tell you it was a whole different experience (Good).

So you take off and the second the seat belt light goes out they send out the first trolley. I have visions of the cabin crew waiting behind the curtain checking the tyres and oil, rubbing their feet on the carpet like a raging bull about to be let loose on a rodeo clown. The trolleys come out from both ends of the plane, rushing towards the centre, crushing any poor soul who thought they might use the toilets (which are at either end).

I will now list the order of the trolleys and my objections in full.

  1. Duty free that has been ordered on the flight out.

This should be made available to collect upon landing. Why the f#@k are we flying bottles of Johnny Walker round the world so people can take them back to Britain? I mean there really isn’t any need for any spirit manufactured in the UK to travel thousands of miles on an airplane, only to end up in a glass drinks cabinet of a retired couple from Dudley who will just refill it with gear from Aldi when it runs out.

  1. Teas, Coffees, Beers and wines in proportions that would leave The Borrowers thirsty.

I get that people might need a drink or some nibbles, but can’t they just flog it from the gate or have a man with a tray on the sky bridge. I like beer, honestly I do, but I like it enough to not do it the disservice of consuming it in quantities of anything less that 500mm. Don’t forget about the deals! The people in front of me are discussing how four little beers for just £12 is a very good deal indeed. I can only imagine they get all their shopping from the farmers’ market and their holiday books from the Radio Times mail order book club.

  1. Ad hoc duty free that hasn’t been ordered already.

Can you believe that people still buy cigarettes on planes! We just came from a country where they cost £1 a pack. Maybe it’s because they must have their brand that can only be bought in the UK and on planes! I don’t know about you, but I don’t mind where my slow inevitable death comes from cos its coming and where it was made ain’t gonna make a difference.

Imagine if you will, a hypothetical crackpot dictator in some warm dusty land, sometime in the 70s, sitting upon a throne made from water melons at the end of a long walkway with a giant light up piano on the floor ( as seen in the  film Big). Why watermelons? Because I leke them that’s why. Let’s call him Charles or Charlie to his chums at Eton (All good dictators have been educated in Britain).

One of his generals walks casually up the piano whilst trying to maintain an even step and not tread on two keys at once (doing so would be a capital offence).

‘General, where are my bullets’ barks Charles in an impatient tone.

‘We have been shopping around great leader’ says the general confidently. ‘We wanted to get you a good deal and get the most bullets for your money.’

‘I want British bullets, they are the best’ says Charles in a dismissive tone.

‘British bullets are like any other your highness, they have much the same effect as the others we’ve looked at.’

Charles is miffed. ‘Look at the empire they built with those bullets, they must be the best.’

The general is becoming worried about his position and not just his position in the government. His position on the floor has changed and he is in serious danger of drifting off the piano key he stands on.

‘Ok great leader, we will get you British bullets. I’ll put the order in when the HMS something or other next docks for a cocktail party.’

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I may have gently slid off the programme for a moment there, but I’m sure you get the point. People like their brand.

  1. Drinks and snacks again

Same shit same trolley. Now this is the bit where they very proudly announce that there will be a break in the service of around 40 mins… 40 mins out of 5 hours. Less than 20% of the flight will be spent in peace! Thankfully I managed to shoot out and use the toilet before the next gauntlet was set. Then they have the audacity to announce that now everyone has had a nice rest they will be resuming the trolley service. Aghhhhhhhhh I want to scream!

Can’t we just shut our eyes and wait till it’s over, why must I look at all the wonderful deals you have. I don’t even know what’s going on any more I feel like a poor lost animal stuck in the centre of a dual carriage way surrounded by f#&king trolleys whizzing by.

It’s at this point that I feel I must end my observations as my silent rage may boil over into me writing a sternly worded email.

Safe travels and happy holidays.

By   Alastair J Gogerty

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007tlxv

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Borrowers-Puffin-Book-Mary-Norton/dp/0141354860

 

Friday Flash Fiction 725 – The Skies Above

I never tired of watching the skies above. Living close to the airport the sky was never empty. At night I counted the lights, four in a row coming into land, no room for error. On winter mornings as I got up early for work I was never sure which were stars and which the passenger planes circling, waiting for their turn to land.

But this morning something was different, a shape dropping gently, slowly; higher than the other aircraft, lights unfamiliar, not a helicopter. As the night sky turned to indigo the shape became a luminous jellyfish floating in the deep blue of the ocean, the world turned upside down and inside out. I was transfixed, not afraid, not afraid at that moment.

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As the sky lightened I discerned a darker shape beneath the rainbow coloured dome; still so high in the sky it was hard to tell if it was ascending or descending. But even as I blinked I saw it becoming larger. I rushed through the house to the back garden to get a better view, all thoughts of getting to the bus stop in time for work forgotten. The feeble early morning light disappeared as a giant canopy blocked the whole sky. I hardly dared allow my eyes to follow the heavy cables that hung below what I now realised was a giant parachute. The cables twisted and jerked as they were manoeuvred by the dark shape attached to them. The shape took form as it slowly descended, legs and arms flailing. The garden security light came on to reveal a human shape; I hoped it was a macabre joke, a giant inflatable doll, strung to a parachute that was about to cover the whole of my large back garden.

Saucer eyes stared at me, a gaping mouth uttered a sound that caused the ground to tremble beneath me and a hot wind, tobacco scented, blew me backwards. Before I could attempt to recover and retreat indoors there was an almighty splintering of glass as my greenhouse was crushed out of sight by a giant boot. And even as a tiny part of my brain urged me to get indoors and save my family I felt a rush of wind on my cheek and the other boot flattened my house as if it was cardboard.

I fought to escape as the canopy that had looked like gossamer high up in the sky now crashed around me with its deadly weight. As the breath was about to be squeezed out of me, my paralysed brain seemed to revive and make time stand still. I observed the hand that raised up the canopy, each digit the size of a tree trunk, a hand that could rescue or crush me. Hysterical laughter shook my body for a moment as I pictured myself telling the boss ‘Sorry I’m late, but a giant landed in my garden.’

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What was he, a giant of legend? Or perhaps an alien; we imagine them as either strange monsters or green coloured humans, but why not a distant planet populated by homo sapiens who just happen to be ten times our size? For a bloke who wasn’t a great thinker I was doing a lot of thinking, there was a strange silence that was comforting. The hand was not touching me, joined by the other hand it lifted the crumpled structure clear so I was staring into the face, but it was too vast for me to discern its expression.

It had been the titanic parachute shielding me from the noise; now the air was filled with the shrieking of sirens and the shrieking of my neighbours. How many seconds had passed since the boots destroyed my home and woke all the neighbours? The control tower must have been tracking him before I even left my front door. What would the emergency services do, call in the army? I almost felt protective of my giant, I hoped they wouldn’t harm him. As another hot wind blew me backwards and the ground vibrated I realised the deafening rumble was the word sorry. I knew then that he must have intended to land on the runway and as his hand stretched out to pick me up I hoped he didn’t mess up the next part of his plan.