Shoe laces, cassacks and tassles …

1*gZr_ysDuiTpa1OdHCS4kWA.jpegIts been sometime since I last published an item, not for the want of, but, lacking any sort of enthusiasm. Literally.

Today, the East wind blows hard and with plenty of gusto, the huge rolling waves fetch from the opposite side of the English Channel and eventually expire against our beautiful shore. The latter part of Winter is one of the most aggressive time of  year, fortunately here in the South-West we tend to miss most of the snow and disruption. It has been quite sometime since we had a snow over. Even so,  the Siberian wind finds its way into every crevice of my home and many others’

Like an old faithful friend my boiler keeps on puttering along, next stop on the controller will be meltdown. However, I do, and intend to stay warm, being cold is unbearable. Sadly, my gas fire has now finally given up the ghost and at almost £900 to repair, albeit temporarily, an executive decision delays progress, therefore replacing it with a log burner will have to wait until September, at least. Even if it means having to resort to wrapping up like Miss Shepherd, you know the one, she, the vagrant bordering upon genius stroke insanity who lived and slept rough in a battered up old van on someones driveway. (if you are not au fait, Google “Lady in the Van”)

Fortunately, an abundance of hot water means I bear or spread no personal aroma like her.

The beauty and the ferocity of this weather style gives me impetus, in even more ways than one. After sometime not attending my parish church I took on first double duty at Eucharist this morning, although, firstly tripping over my loose shoelace, and almost sending the Holy Gospel flying, secondly, the case of the untied tassels falling down from my waist did not stop the performance either, nor finally did the fact that my offering Chalice became far too empty far too soon.  As is said, no matter what, the show must go on, and go on it did. There were no signs of my hair smouldering as I passed by the daylight shining through the stained glass, nor did any of the gargoyles fall from the tower as I made my exit.

After my sacred duties I am now home, a stomach now full of steak pasty and two flutes of Cava, my treat for being a channel to others. My stags horn candelabra positioned next to my iMac proudly hosts three newly lit candles upon my glass desk, each flickering from the ambient indoor breeze, it’s a good sign. At last momentum is here, finally.  Staring out of my square bay window, my grey matter exercises and wonders as I become totally mesmerised by the beauty of the sea, the untamable element.  White horses compete to win a never-ending race. I stare toward the horizon, exactly where is this snow we were promised? Duly named by the press and media as ‘the Beast from the East’

The bats in my head flutter about and try to establish how to publish my recent deep and sad dark thoughts. For every downside there is an up, and so as the balance of nature and its equilibrium are eventually being restored, a decision to portray my rollercoaster ride will hopefully make you cry tears, preferably with much extreme laughter, exactly in which order I have no idea.


Erik the Red


Friday 29th December 2017

Who on earth would consider going outside in this icy weather? If it was me I surely would have wimped out on my appointment, but, being the stalwart just like Erik the Red the Norwegian did in 983 AD, old Mr diehard, (my trusty neighbour) will head out, deep into the arctic conditions. I’m only too pleased I have this nasty coughing bug which surely has been my escape card from todays activities.

At 6am there was an almighty clap of thunder, to be honest, never heard the first or the follow-ons quite as loud as ever before. Poor Bertie who had been struggling with his first night shift whilst the family from above had arrived late, was certainly on tenterhooks with every noise, the rattle and clattering of corrugated iron sheets being shuffled as in a game of cards was certainly getting his hackles ruffled, once he had realised there was nothing he could do, quickly nose-dived into the safety of the arc in the small of my back, often, a small grunt of “I can still hear you” was muttered.

The brief thought of creating something Hygge ( a term now ‘Fasjonable’) and lighting a candle to watch the lightning display disperses as squickly as it arrived in my mental canyon. Pulling the duvet back over my head, surely and steadily the cacophony of the heavy rain against the rear window sends me back to whence before when I was enjoying a blissful sleep.

Slept for an hour again midday, and managed to keep my breakfast from popping up like a meerkat, I doze yet again and after texting ‘the King of Winter’ for some Benylin to ease the inconvenience of this barking. The Viking retorts a text upon his return, inviting me for refreshment and a butter shortbread back at his lair with flaming torchieres. In the blink of an eye I accept, wrapping myself up warm, with track suit sloggies and a Navy style blazer which kept the biting north-west wind from icing up my essential extremities. I meander the treacherous path, one rather large terrier runs between my legs whilst i carry the other like a fake Pravda handbag under my right arm, it tries to escape. Such a pity I didn’t put on my newly gifted wooly hat, you know the ones that look like you are wearing a duffle-bag?

Yes, one of those.

This evening the constant need for sleep is dragging me right down, it’s as if I were wearing a rucksack filled to overflow with half a dozen extra red bricks stuffed in the outside pockets, my neck and back need straightening, but, just cannot seem to find a position to allow my vertebrae to align. Now devoid of any sustenance I sit here writing gibberish whilst listening to “Diamonds” by Elton John and only in just another thirty-two minutes, Siri, with her nauseating American accent will remind me that its medication time yet again. Just as if i were an inmate in The Oregon State Hospital where ‘One flew over the Cuckoos nest’ was filmed, it’s quite apt really as these tablets im taking to ease my mental stress are taking their toll, almost to the point of I dont think I can take any more of this.


Cupcakes for fuck sake!


Thursday 23rd November 2017

I guess I started to realise something was wrong quite recently, finding out that a dear neighbour and friend actually was far much older than I had estimated. Suddenly the reality dawned on me that this person was not immortal, and nor was I. At sixty-one and with my checkered health, both past and present, it registered that the application to extent my own badge of immortality was never going to pass through the fine fins of my letter box.

The second thing, I read on Facebook that my Dads friend had passed away, strangely I had seen Silvia a few weeks previous walking along the roadside looking very tired and out of sorts. I mentioned this to my mate and I went around to see her, all a bit of a nightmare, as she lives next door to my dear Dads old house, that being a heart and gut wrenching experience in its self.

I was greeted with the passion of a long-lost friend, having known her for almost fifty years. Her male companion of even longer was there also, but, somehow, I felt she had things to say but couldn’t in his presence. Enquiring of her health, she shunned it off by shoving a Tupperware box full of rock buns and sweet sugar fruit cake onto me, I asked her to promise to call me. We said goodbye with a huge warm hug and a kiss, all very awkward, and at eighty-one years young and a spinster of the parish, somethings were just still awkward. Five days later she was taken, returned to her maker, marked unopened and still oozing the charm and love she always gave to people, not necessarily for anything in return, I guess she probably was as much surprised as we were, as to how quickly she had gone.

I left early the morning of the funeral, oddly, in her church, she laid North to South in her solid Oak overcoat, adorned with a small posy of pinks from her cousin, the only surviving family member. Behind stood a lectern and yet no sign of an Altar. Inquisitively I’ve done some research since, and as her chosen faith often not furnish a table, however, they do tend to have both podium and lectern instead. Some Ministers walk around wearing Madonna style headsets and microphones. The one who officiated this particular service did not. He had the bad habit of continually tapping the microphone head, it became similar to a routine often performed by a comedian in a Northern Working Mens Club. Most annoying. Of course, during, he reminded us all that everyone had a specific memory about her.

I couldn’t but help the time I first heard her swear, shockingly, just like a trooper I might add. I was only 12 years old and she had no ideas on how to reverse the car into her garage, her driving was appalling, something she admitted to.  Often she would just aim it, the car that is, and pray, but still suffered the same problem getting out. The many times we use to hear the car scrape the wrought iron gate all became part of daily life, same routine, get out to inspect it and mutter the same words of “FCUK IT” quite loud. Often I would hang around in the front garden most evenings waiting for her to park the car. When she caught sight I had heard her, she just said “Silvia doesnt swear” and would smile wryly. She was good at that, then simply disappear indoors and return and toss me a fruit cupcake, still warm, in a pleated paper cup, simple. The elephant would be there the same time the next day, without fail.

It was a good idea to get a seat early, as the church was heaving with mourners. As for the wake, it was held in the communal rooms next door. Fresh tea and coffee were served in the finest china, some slight chipping and staining was noticed. I had a modest silent snigger as I helped myself to a good few items of food. A wonderful choice of Ham, then Cheese, and Egg with Cress sandwiches, Sausage rolls, fruit cake amongst other things and of course, a staple of any perfect get together, the famous foil wrapped potato hedgehog with cheese and pineapple sticks. Most of the culinary delights were probably made by Silvia herself and deep frozen as she was a commercial cook, even right up to her last few days, she would laugh at that I am sure.

And a damn good one at that.

This Christmas I shall be one card short. RIP dear friend. x


‘Hey Siri’


Tuesday 5th December 2017

Sunday was an unregognisable blur, pushing my boundaries with a bottle of Cava Rosado from the Co-Op on the Saturday evening helped my tortured soul to have to listen to the toxicity of the banal judges on Strictly Come Dancing, the run of the mill performances and having to endure the cheesy off tone singing. My live heckling via the WhatsApp app with one of my less often seen BFF’s, was the high-lite, he understands. I’m such a bitch.

Ridiculous as it sounds, drinking when I shouldnt as, A) I’m not supposed to, period! and B) I couldn’t have cared less, any numbing of my brain was going to be most welcome. Goodness knows what my Slimming World advocate, Lisa, and my many supporters would say to that, perhaps best not add it to my food diary. Actually, if I had decided to complete one of those pesky “keeping an eye in the sky for the forbidden pie” weekly spreadsheets, I doubt extremely if all the extras I have consumed would have been remembered. I blame myself, but really I don’t care, not today, not yesterday, nor any part of last week.

Trying to balance a wobbly brain, two dogs, house makeover and abstain from any confrontation from my neighbour has been as hard just as a juggler taking centre stage in a fast filling pool of water without wetting any of his toes.

If I hadn’t already made definite plans for today and a decision to have brunch out I would surely bow out with a piss poor lame excuse, being awake still at 04:26 is not good.

I think il try to rest, put my trusty device down and pull the cord, the light goes off. Last words muttered “Hey Siri, please set alarm for 8am” of course, he has to have the last word ….. I hate that.

Freedom & The Prince of Darkness


Sat 16th December 2017

Yet another ridiculous night of nocturnalism, continually dragging up files up rubbish stored deep down at the bottom of my head space, like an estuary been sieved and drained.

Tell me, who on earth wakes up with the ear worm “Freedom” clearly resonating, apart from myself the only other person possibly wishing he could, most likely, is that of the great music maestro himself, Mr George Michael. Sadly, another mixed up genius whisked off to the parallel universe which in my opinion works backwards to ours, it’s not such a strange idea when you think about it, only yesterday, 15th December 2017, NASA were pontificating about a Solar system not dissimilar to our own had been discovered.

Perhaps our time here on earth is just a short lesson on how to become greater beings for greater things in the future, not necessarily ours, I might add. I wonder if Mr Aryabhaya, one of the earliest recorded Astronomer-Mathematicians in the mid sixth century ever once shouted up at the heavens … “Is there anybody out there? in desperation.

Pre cursing a few words which I am also trying to eradicate from my notes, or at least starting sentences with, are ‘basically’ & ‘so’ In my defence, I will try to use less often, I notice from a Facebook feed. I am guilty of such crimes. I will attempt to do better.

So, basically, (that’s for you Colin) an unusual feed of the dogs this early is not part of my daily routine, however, as its silly season and eights night to sleep before the big day arrives, my intentions are to be in Sainsbury’s for 7:15, it’s going to be a bit of a juggle as my bank statement and credit card are not on the friendliest of terms with myself, and there is no Bank of Mum & Dad to fall back on, as that particular branch closed a long time ago, but, ….. I have a cunning plan, ‘thinks long and hard” … NO, that wont work either!

I’m also conducting an experiment this morning, where two of my favourite authors, Mr Dickens used to & Mr Slater still, write under the flicker of the magic candle light. I’m giving it a go. If it wasnt for the reflection off of my screen illuminating the keyboard, this malarkey would be put down as pants, however, I quite like it, and it seems to be working, perhaps my times of inspiration are within the hours of darkness after all, just look at how much shit I’ve written down on the magic papyrus already.

I hear no comments …. apart from a distant muffling disguised in a white noise ….“yes”.

No cats were hurt during this …

As you may have noticed I’ve been away for a while. No, wait a moment, let me explain, NOT away as at Her Majestys Pleasure, but away from the keyboard of my magic Ewriter. So, this ‘little’ actual happening has been on my note pad since August.

Today I feel that I must share it with you. So…

Early morning spasms awaken me, creatures of infinitesimal size run around inside my arms and legs as if they are on a marathon, chomping and treading about like hungry crazed parade ground soldiers.

The TDL (to do list) is quite extensive today, the car is booked in for a full professional valet, a requirement as it just happens to be one of my OCD things, especially after transporting a member of the feline colony over every hill, along four motorways, down every dale and across seven county borders toward the Essex coast recently.

So, here is the reason why.

This road trip was the first chance I would have been able to do a few good miles non-stop. ‘Mamma bear’ as she is referred to, not by me I must add, is sat shotgun. Charlie poo on the back seat in the borrowed transporter cage nestled securely amongst suitcase, carrier bags, bath seat and a saucepan complete with lid plus ad finitum of miscellanous rubbish accumulated over a twenty day period.

I’m sure that many of my readers are well aware feeding any animal before travelling is NOT a good thing. I had asked if *it* (I’m calling it an it, because I don’t like OR relate to cats) had done it’s business and possibly wee’d, hopefully she would refrain from feeding it last night, but as she felt sorry for it, she did.

Just as Brabinger was passing Junction 27 on the M5, suddenly, and without warning, we were encased in toxic fume. There is only one smell worse than cat poo in a litter tray, and that’s fresh cat shit in a car. It was everywhere, just like a Maze prison protest, fortunately all behind cat cell walls. The drive to the next turn off from the motorway seemed like an eternity, we heaved, well, you can guess what it was like. Pulling off to the junction lay-by we skidded to a halt, I manhandled the stinking flimsy cage out of the rear space, stuck my hand into the pit of hell and pulled out all soft bedding, sodden with detritus I bunged it into a carrier bag, the dress, I must add was NOT mine, had originally been folded nicely, it was now in a heap on the rear parcel shelf.

This life form had to go, and that meant right now. At that point the vile creature bolted between my arm and the edge of the carrier flap, luckily it was caught by its foreleg and passively chastised. Me? Absolutely seething!
The journey was then resumed, but, what we didn’t know, was that it wasn’t going to get much better. As if raising the volume on the radio was going to make matters better, perhaps numbing my hearing might compensate my sense of smell, as said before, just like my ears, I don’t wear my nose for beauty, didnt.

The only problem now was that my passenger had lapsed into dance mode in the front seat, believe me I have feelings for people who suffer from ADHD, extreme OCD or any self phobia but not knowing their background or personal circumstances and how they would react meant that driving along at ten percent (ish) above the national speed limit was a little spooky. ‘Right’…  I think to myself, time for change of tack. My left hand turns the digital receiver to the off position and switch to Sally SatNav. Considering I have never ever used it whilst driving on a motorway before, and the concrete slab road reverberating through the run flat tyres, burnt deep frequencies from ear to ear in a straight line, totally annihilating the voice of the seductive instructress.

Coming up to the apex of the Gordano Avon flyover I open all four windows, it’s the only chance to get rid of the impossible smell of cat crap. Perhaps, with a bit of luck or a God-given mysterious way, the cat and its belongings, all of them, might just get sucked out in a green haze vortex and eventually land in the back garden way below the preformed galvanised stanchions of the highway towering way over the suburb of Portishead.

“Holy Cat Crap” shouts Batman as he fist pumps the air and disappears into a wormhole!

The devils wear dog collars …

Another early Saturday morning, it’s 06:40, the two latest editions to the menagerie have slept through from 10:30 last evening, it’s a steady progress. They both awaken because I am strirring, two tiny creature with noisy squeaks and whines greet me with such sweet innocence and beauty, how on earth can you get angry with anything quite so lovely?

Little Missy is sat in her bed, made up of a dark brown suede effect with a green and light brown tartan cushion, this one also chewed to pieces, just like the two previous. Yes, she’s a minx alright, of the previous, a zip runner had gone missing, however it was found twelve hours later in one of her steaming hot precious dog eggs. This of course does explain why she was having an off day,  I certainly wouldn’t have liked what she was experiencing. She just sits there and stares at me, waiting for my hand to enter her territory within the cage and pick up her empty dish, she pounces, I coordinate badly. As gravity takes over, it hits the side of the water bowl, making enough noise to wake the dead and empties the content on the floor. At this point little happy bouncy ‘monkey boy’ stirs, he bounds out of his matching dog cave and leaps onto my arm like a sexual deviant, his greeting consists of a sharp dew claw grasp and a fine toothed ‘Boston’, If you know about wrestling, you would understand that particular movement. In fine fettle they both start to sing their greeting. Hurriedly, I get the first meal of the day prepared, half a tub of ‘Butchers Dog’ puppy food each, lowering the meal gently into the enclosures, I am aware that each canine food critic is short of a napkin and manners, any that may have been learned are immediately dismissed, each are head in before bowls are on the floor, quickly I return to pour two tiny casuelas of puppy milk, not very pleasant in aroma I must add. In true haphazard style the contents are spilled from the plastic bottle decorated in the bi-colours of the Plymouth Argyle football club strip, I struggle to put the green screw top back on to the white bottle single handledly. Knowingly, and by how it is lapped up quickly, means it’s mighty damn good for them. I stand back, chest plumped out, ….that’s our babies!

Untrained puppies are such devious little rat bags, they have no conception of any value or worth. We must have changed at least a thousand pee mats in just over a month, but they  make it so much easier to keep an area clean of spillage from loose excretionary orifaces than rather have scrub carpets. No sooner as clean pens shine, there are stinking patterns and pee stains not dissimilar to drip paintings by non other than the abstract expressionist Jackson Pollack. Perhaps this could be my big break, especially with a new idea for Dragons Den, all we would need are ready made frames and a certificate of authenticity.

I check my watch, it reads ten minutes to eight, perhaps if I sit quietly on the electric recliner chair and set to mortuary position one, maybe the dancing macaques will quieten down, especially if I pull the cover over myself completely. Hoping for an hours extra rest, at least. From the morgue slab the corpse breathes out its last breaths of shhh’s and coooes, the creatures start to take note and settle, they haven’t twigged yet that biggest monster of them all is under the sheet …… oh the indignity of it all!

Lesson number uno, if other dogs are in the household, feed them also, even if it’s happens to be almost three hours earlier for them. They will not settle, until so done. Rspecially when trying to sneak an extra hour of morning rest. At least tomorrow i’l be prepared for that one.