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 ?

 

 

 

Winter Weekend West – Part Three – Tin Coast

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After finally finding and checking into Primrose House we were offered birthday cake. Then came that B&B tradition of the first night; setting out for an evening walk and finding somewhere to have dinner. We took the coastal route round the harbour, looking for the Tate Gallery first to see how far it was and check opening times. St. Ives was buzzing, it was half term Saturday and everyone was off to parties or heading for dinner. In the dark we took a circuitous route round the narrow roads and when we found the gallery there was no information board outside. After finding some places full we settled on a fish restaurant hiding above a fish and chip shop, it was pleasant but pretentious. What I had was basically a piece of plaice on top of some mashed potato. When we got back to our B&B the chocolate birthday cake was still out on the table, so we took another piece up to our room. We looked up opening times for the Tate on the internet, closed on Monday, so tomorrow it must be. We wouldn’t have to move the car yet.

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On Sunday the sun was out and the beach and harbour made a good walk after our cooked breakfast. The low tide harbour looked like a beach and the people walking on it seemed in no hurry to leave as the tide came in and fishermen clambered into their boats ready to sail off.

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We have been to St. Ives several times and I am always amazed at the bright turquoise of the sea. From inside the Tate Gallery you can see the beach framed like a picture. The building is bright and white inside and out, airy and pleasant and of course there is a cafe and shop. You can have a look round the gallery here.

https://www.tate.org.uk/visit/tate-st-ives

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Our evening meal we had already booked at a hotel back near our B&B, a Sunday roast. If we had just stuck with the main course we would have thought it a good meal. Having wondered if we could manage a pudding, would it be greedy etc. we needn’t have worried. Cyberspouse’s jam rolly-polly was merely a thin slice of Swiss roll with a jug of custard, while my lemon tart a thin sliver of pastry with a smear of lemon curd.

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Monday was the day of the Tin Coast. Cyberspouse wanted to show me mines visited when he and his friends went on their photography trip. We would have to drive the car back up that narrow steep road. Our host assured us one hardly ever met anyone coming down, but if we did the protocol was those going up had to back down. We were nearly at the top, the main road in sight, when another car started coming down. I closed my eyes – I wasn’t driving . An expert bit of manoeuvring and we were squeezed onto the driveway of  someone’s house.

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The Levant mine was still closed for the winter, but apparently has a restored working beam engine and the mine itself went deep under the sea. The rugged scenery alone is worth the visit. Then we drove a little further on to Botallack, even more rugged and I realised the perilous path trodden to get to the good spot Cyberspouse wanted for his tripod. As I don’t like heights I went no further and could hardly bear to look. I have since discovered, when we saw our friends, that his wife also refused to cross nature’s bridge of terror when he took her.

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https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/levant-mine-and-beam-engine

Cape Cornwall was different again with rolling grass that made you feel like running down, even rolling down the grass like children do. Perhaps if adults acted with the carefree abandon of children and dogs it would be good for their mental health. We wondered who the monument on top of the headland was dedicated to.  The answer was baked beans. Or rather Heinz, Guardians of the Countryside, had purchase the land for the nation in 1987 to mark their centenary year and presented it the National Trust. By now I was ready for a nice cup of coffee, sitting at the bench in the sun outside the little cafe at the end of the toilet block. But when we got back down it turned out they were only getting it ready for the weekend. So it was off to St. Just for a traditional Cornish pastie.

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You can see more pictures of our trip at my website.

https://www.ccsidewriter.co.uk/chapter-five-beach-writer-s-blog/

Sunday Salon

Two novels, a short story collection, a family reminiscence and Big Issue magazine.

Sunday Salon starts on a positive note; five stars for a very enjoyable real life read and my review published on Amazon. I was especially interested to read this book as we took our children to Norfolk on several holidays, but not on a boat!

5 out of 5 stars    The days were far from lazy, but it was the holiday of a lifetime.

23 February 2019

Verified Purchase

This truly was a getaway holiday. The family left a busy part of London for the peace and slow pace of life on the Norfolk Broads. It was also an adventure as they had not handled a boat before. Two sisters, four children and two dogs had to adapt to life in the confines of a boat. Fortunately the weather was good and the sun and fresh air come across in this warm story. There were plenty of places to visit along the way and the family enjoyed everything from the beach at Great Yarmouth to the castle at Norwich. If you have been on boating holidays or are contemplating one do read this book. Lots of us will know the experience of planning a holiday, then worrying if everyone will enjoy it, trying to please all ages etc. The two sisters weren’t sure if all the children had enjoyed themselves, but it turned out that they talked about it for weeks after and years later enjoyed reading this book and recapturing memories.

 

 Out of the four books I have finished reading recently this was the only review not rejected by Amazon. I have absolutely no idea why. The Thank you for submitting … and   few common issues to keep in mind were exactly the same for each book. You can read them below. This has happened to me only once before.

An Australian, a US and an English author, no bias on Amazon’s part then! All were Kindle books bought on Amazon.UK

 I have posted the reviews on Goodreads, but we all want our reviews to appear on Amazon…

Thank you for submitting a customer review on Amazon. After carefully reviewing your submission, your review could not be posted to the website. While we appreciate your time and comments, reviews must adhere to the following guidelines.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/review-guidelines

25 Stories of Life and Love in Australia

27 Jun 2012     by Margaret Lynette Sharp

 

  from Janet Gogerty on 25 December 2018

Romance guaranteed.

A gentle read to dip into. These are stories of life and love. Mostly romantic love, but also family tales. Young love and mature love feature. Whether you are young or older but remember decisions and choices, taking advice or following your heart, you will enjoy these tales. The stories of mature romance often feature reunions and second chances. Perhaps these tales could be set anywhere, but if you have lived in Australia you will know that it is a big country a long way from the rest of the world. If your romantic interest goes overseas or even over to Perth or up north, you know that is likely to be the end of your hopes, unless they return…

A few common issues to keep in mind:

  • Your review should focus on specific features of the product and your experience with it. Feedback on the seller or your shipment experience should be provided at http://www.amazon.co.uk/feedback.
  • We do not allow profane or obscene content. This applies to adult products too.
  • Advertisements, promotional material or repeated posts that make the same point excessively are considered spam.
  • Please do not include URLs external to Amazon or personally identifiable content in your review.
  • Any attempt to manipulate Community content or features, including contributing false, misleading or inauthentic content, is strictly prohibited.

 

Father Figure by James J Cudney

from Janet Gogerty on 17 January 2019

I gave this five stars.

A story that explores the darkest side of human nature and the most uplifting.

This is a novel that packs in a lot of life. The author explores many aspects of human love and that uplifts it from being just another story of childhood abuse or a teenage romance. Two time periods, two very different places and two girls on the brink of adult life. But this is also a mystery thriller with some chapters that will leave your nerves in shreds! Sometimes it’s best to leave your whole life behind and create a new one, but can you ever keep the past closed? There is a rich cast of characters who will provoke every emotion. This is the first novel I have read by this author and I am looking forward to reading more.

 

Shadow With Nowhere to Fall    Mark Lamming

from Janet Gogerty on 24 February 2019

I gave this five stars.

A story of friendship as well as love.

I loved the opening pages and the unexpected event which propels us into the lives of William and his family. His life is about to fall apart and the reader may think he is going to get his comeuppance, but is he a good person at heart, can he atone for the past? This is a real rollercoaster of a story, a love story, but not a cosy tale of mature love.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Shadow-Nowhere-Fall-Mark-Laming/dp/1999649060

 

Big Issue Magazine

I wrote a blog the Christmas before last and have continued to buy the magazine weekly if possible – James became a regular, I passed him on my way to writers’ group. Later on he apparently got a job and somewhere to live, replaced by Mark who is also easy to have a chat and laugh with. Homelessness has got worse, I have no answers, but every Big Issue seller is a person doing their job and they have the opportunity to engage with the organisation and get other help as well.

But this is a review and I genuinely enjoy reading the magazine.  I turn first to the back page where they feature Big Issue seller of the week. Then there are plenty of interesting articles about real life, the arts and always some good insights by the founder John Bird. A neat non glossy ( better for the environment) mag. that is handy for reading on the bus or out and about. At £2.50 no more than the price of a cup of coffee, so why not try it.

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

https://www.bigissue.org.uk/

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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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Winter Weekend West – Part Two

Most of us find places to stay for holidays or mini breaks on line and a good way to choose is to pick a bed and breakfast that looks interesting and will make good photos for Instagram, Facebook, your website and your WordPress blog – though my WordPress gallery of pictures is chockablock full now…

We picked Primrose House in St. Ives, Cornwall. February is hardly peak season, but the weatherman promised fine weather. It was half term and we were booking at the last minute, but we got a room.

The journey down was thick fog all the way, as you will know if you are one of my three followers on Instagram or Facebook. Our breakfast stop turned out to be a Macdonalds; in the fog we just saw a sign for Services, no HGVs and a white house shaped building. We decided its proximity to Poundbury, Prince Charles’ life size toy town near Dorchester, was the reason for the absence of the usual bright red and yellow sign. Inside it was bright and clean and packed with customers and more staff than I have ever seen; we later heard from one of the staff they were expecting an unexpected visit from the big boss. That explained the enthusiastic clearing and wiping of tables.

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Although the fog cleared just before we got to St. Ives it was impossible to find Primrose House. Like lots of West Country towns St. Ives was built for fishermen and real people walking about their business, not for tourists. We knew there were steep narrow winding lanes, that’s why we wanted to stay in the town and walk everywhere, but we still had to get to our accommodation in the first place. Sat Nav’s directions made no sense. The place is right by the branch line from St. Erth, how handy it would have been to arrive by train; except that journey involves five trains ( four changes ) and takes over nine hours from our home.

We stopped in the car park of a big hotel we had stayed in once before and phoned the B&B. We had missed the tiny lane that was the road to Primrose Valley. It was so steep we could have turned the engine off and free wheeled down. At the bottom were a couple of sharp U turns under, then back under the branch railway line. ‘We’re not moving the car again until it’s time to go home’ I said when I opened my eyes again – I’m not the driver…

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Luckily Primrose House lived up to my expectations. It was within yards of the beach if you walked under the branch line. Run by friendly young proprietors who have made the spacious 1908 guest house bright and attractive, it is all white walls, timber and minimalism. The only criticism being that it might be described as a touch too minimalist. Our big room had lots of floor space, but not a single chair to sit on or many surfaces to put anything down. The bathroom was good with a lovely big shower. Anyone who knows the saga of our bathroom will appreciate that a powerful shower is part of the holiday treat.

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There was lots on the breakfast menu, freshly cooked and plenty of fruit, cereals etc to help yourself. On the first morning there were lots of guests, but Sunday and Monday nights the owners told us we were alone; literally as there were no staff staying overnight. Possible inspiration for a story! The other strange thing that happened was our room didn’t get serviced due to a mix up, but they gave us a bottle of champagne and deducted money off the bill to make up.

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Did we ever manage to get the car back up the hill? Find out next week.

https://www.primroseonline.co.uk/

https://www.visitcornwall.com/places/st-ives

 

 

 

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.