Well, that was another week! April 26th 2019

Another week comes to a close, and another weekend is here! Always cause for celebration.

I’ve been off this week, and it has been absolutely fabulous! Pure bliss at times, I don’t mind saying. At certain times, I’d even say I’ve managed to master time itself, so slowly did it pass – and I mean that in a really good way (not in the way, how, at times, time just draaaaags by without an end in sight!) However, there were also times when time passed by at double, and quite possibly treble, normal speed. Time has to keep its own pace, no matter what we do to try to affect the flow of it.

It’s been Easter Week around these parts. Around other parts too, I’d be right in guessing. The week started with the scorching temperatures that we last saw in February. February. You couldn’t make it up. At this end of the week, it’s a little cooler, a lot wetter, and slightly more thundery. I don’t mind the weather really. It can do as it pleases, even when I’m off work. We can’t do anything about it.

Another thing we seemingly can’t do anything about is Brexit, which is back up in the air this week. Well, one can’t say it’s on the table as its everywhere but. I’m actually becoming bored of laughing at the nonsense now, and this is one thing I’d just wish that time could grab a hold of in one of its treble-speed spurts. “They’ve” ummed and ahhed about it for so long, “we” (most probably) “must” vote in the EU elections this year, which we wouldn’t have needed to had we left at the right time, instead of all the umming and ahhing. However, I’m not political. I’m British and I don’t care.

I read a headline in the news the other day. How it could be classed as ‘news’ is beyond me, more like more fearmongering, this time directed at the older generation. Apparently, some group somewhere or other thinks that all of the benefits that our pensioners receive should be scrapped, and the money instead given to the younger generation. Well, not that my voice matters, I say to the younger generation get out there and earn your money, and earn your benefits for when you are a pensioner yourself. I must admit that I didn’t read the story, the headline was enough, but it got me thinking about how the ‘media’ call ‘social media’ for being inappropriate, when they very often do the same thing. Mind you, they are trusted and unbiased, apparently.

On a more serious note, the bluebells are now all in full bloom around here. With the cloud cover causing the light to have a golden tinge to it, the bluebells are the most glorious lavender colour at present. Unfortunately, I haven’t taken any photos of them, as there are plenty of other bluebell photos dotted about the blog.

My keyboard went kaput yesterday. I was typing away at one of the parts to my latest Superhero Diaries storyline (Oh yes, they’re back. The story begins tomorrow (Saturday 27th February) – I used to love a good superhero show on a Saturday night on TV when I was younger, so must have some kind of superhero presence on the blog each year, and this year it’s going to be on a Saturday! For those of you who read last year’s Hallowe’en posts, this run is in the same format as that – I may return to the ‘snippets from the files’ format at a later date. Oops – I digress) and I got halfway through a word when nothing. I thought at first the battery had gone, but no… it was the keyboard. So now, I have a brand new keyboard, and with it a brand new hyper-sensitive mouse which sends the curser anywhere on screen – apart from where I need it to be. Trying to highlight something is a fun challenge in itself. But I do like a challenge.

Speaking of challenges, I mentioned last week that I am no longer participating in any blogging challenges and I will also no longer set any challenges myself. There are a few reasons that helped me to come to the decision, but who knows what may happen in the future? I may be back in the world of blogging challenges before we know it. In the meantime, I’d like to thank those who have set the challenges over the past few months and years that I’ve participated in.

So, thank you:

Debbie

Brenda

Becky

Eugenia

Hélène

Diana

Subject to the mouse working correctly, the above should link to the respective blogs. If I have missed anyone from the list, please let me know and I can rectify the omission in a later post.

And finally, in the arts, I’d like you to have a look at the blogs of a few artist folk I follow, their creations are such a joy, and brought a smile to my face this week.

Susan Feniak, and ‘Henry’

Jill Kuhn’s Topiary Tales

Jodi’s Watercolor Blues

I will share more links to artists everywhere next week.

Have a fabulous weekend!

Keeping Calm and Carrying On (3)

…There it is again…

The whispering. No, the scuttling.

And the tapping. It’s definitely tapping.

It’s just outside the door. But the door’s open. It can’t be there.

Why doesn’t it just come in?

No.

Stay out.

DO NOT come in.

Good job I’m under this duvet; protector of the things that go bump and other terrors of the night. There is no way I’m getting up to investigate. No way at all. And the storm can rage all it wants to outside as well.

What was that?

A creak. The creak came from the door.

But the door’s open…

Keeping Calm and Carrying On (2)

I do not believe it!

I’m sat here, covered in flour after being batted back and to like a ball in a five hour round of tennis. Round of tennis? Match? Set? Game? Bah! Anyway, I digress.

For years, possibly centuries it seems that long, the local councils around here – and transport corporations (as they were known before they all became private bus companies) – have been building secret subterranean tunnels. Tunnels to speed up travel between towns and cities. Not like the existing underground railway systems that are dotted about, but something rather clever, if it would work.

After all these millennia of planning, the work was completed, in secret, last week, and today was the day that a select group of specially selected guests were asked to take part in the trial maiden voyage.

And yours truly was one of those lucky winners.

I had my instructions to meet at a railway station in Liverpool at 8:50am this morning. Not a minute earlier, not a minute later.

Have you ever tried to get somewhere at exactly the time you have to be there? Not an easy feat by any stretch of the imagination – especially as you aren’t allowed to be early. However, I managed it with aplomb.

As soon as I arrived, I was greeted by two men in black with dark hats and sunglasses. A tall one, and a short one.

“Come with us, Tom.” Short said. Long gestured for me to follow Short. I was led out of the train station and into an awaiting stretched limo. Four other groups also arrived at the same time – each consisting of a normal person and two men in black.

An elderly lady with a full shopping bag smiled at me. She was escorted by Round and Bulky. A smartly-dressed young man with a fringe that would give anyone’s a run for their money was flanked by Spotty and Muscles. A sinister looking older gent wearing a long trench coat and sporting a fine dark moustache just above his lip was led to the limo by Lanky and Smiler, and a librarian-headmistress-type woman with pointed spectacles and hair tied up into a tight bun was with Thor and Boyband Member.

A woman in black then graced out of the limo as she couldn’t step as her pencil skirt was too tight. She looked like the boss, as she had a clipboard.

“Allo” Pencilskirt said, in a French accent. (I’ll not continue with the French accent from now on!) “Welcome to Consortium Travel, the new, economic, and fastest, cleanest and safest way to travel… ever!” She was very proud. “You have been specially selected to be our first passengers! Well done!”

At that, a trio of three more people, still dressed in black, and playing musical instruments that looked (and sounded) similar to kazoos appeared. They were playing some kind of version of Rule Britannia, and were promptly ushered away when they’d finished.

A quick flash of light revealed the presence of a photographer, and he too was escorted away by Thor and Spotty.

“I will be your travel guide.” Pencilskirt announced. “Quickly now, into the car. The pod leaves at oh nine twenty-one hours.” She slid back into the car, and was followed quickly by the elderly lady, headmistress, fringe, me and the sinister man.

We were then sped through the streets of Liverpool, somehow avoiding the jams of rush hour traffic, and arrived in the middle of a field at 09:05. We were at some kind of bus stop.

Pencilskirt ushered us all out of the limo, and asked that we stood in line at the bus stop, on the white concrete surface. Once we were all in position, the ground shook, and we were lowered to some kind of (pretty impressive looking) rail terminal. In front of us, our carriage was in.

Well, more of a white oval pod, without windows, but it was there.

“Please, enter!” Pencilskirt batted her clipboard in the direction of an oval shaped door in the side.

We all made our way in, and the interior was quite similar to a bus, with three rows of seats on one side – the side opposite the door. They all faced the same way, and they had those bars on them that buses have.

I sat next to the elderly lady on the front seat. She had nowhere to put her shopping bag, but there was plenty of room in front of her, so she placed it on the floor. Behind us sat headmistress and fringe, with Pencilskirt and the sinister man taking up the back seat.

“Sit and relax!” Pencilskirt announced. “One minute until the first official launch! We are now in Liverpool, and in twelve minutes we will be in Blaenau Ffestiniog, in Wales.”

We sat and waited. And true enough, when the minute was up we felt the pod vibrate. We gently shuddered forward. And then felt our stomachs fling to our backs as we were catapulted forwards at great speeds along this (hopefully tested!) underground tunnel.

About five minutes into the ‘journey’ we jolted backwards – suddenly, once again -and a bag of flour launched itself out of the old lady’s shopping bag and flew with some vigour into the front of the pod. It exploded on impact with an almighty ‘poompf!’, just as we jolted forwards for a second time.

“Me flour!” bellowed the old lady.

I couldn’t help but laugh as we were all covered in this white powdery dust. I looked behind, and fringe had what looked like a ledge full of the stuff on his forehead. He smirked when he told me that all he could see on my face was my eyes. Headmistress couldn’t see a thing as she had to wipe away the flour from her glasses, but she too was tittering. The sinister man at the back and Pencilskirt, although dusted, weren’t as badly affected as the rest of us. The sinister man didn’t flinch. Pencilskirt muttered something in French as she was scribbling away on her clipboard.

When the dust settled, we realised that we’d stopped moving.

Pencilskirt stood and walked to the front of the pod. She lifted a telephone receiver, and wiped and then blew away the flour.

“Allo!” She said, in French. “Can you confirm we are in Blaenau Ffestiniog?”, in English this time.

Silence.

“Ah” we heard her say. The elderly lady glanced sideways toward me and whispered “Not looking good, is it?” I had to laugh again as this dear old lady looked a picture with flour dripping out of her white hair, with finger marks smeared across her cheeks as she’d tried, rather unsuccessfully, to clear the flour from her face. She looked at my cardigan and then back at my dots for eyes. “When you get home, you’ll have to give that a rinse through.” she said, being as helpful as she could.

“Here,” Headmistress said to both the old lady and me, “have a wet wipe.”

“Where?” we heard Pencilskirt shout. “Milford Haven!?! We’ve overshot by 130 miles!”

I checked the time. It was now 9.35am, and we’d travelled all the way to South Wales in literally almost the blink of an eye. We couldn’t see it, as we were in a windowless pod, and underground, but we did feel like we’d been travelling with some pelt.

“I must apologise,” Pencilskirt actually started to look comical now as well, as one side of her was white with flour, the other untouched. She was looking a little stressed. She went on: “We’ve had a bit of a technical hitch. We will return to Liverpool, and postpone this trial run until a later date. You all will be invited to attend again.”

We all just looked at each other, not one of us uttered a thing.

“Please, sit back, and enjoy the home journey back to Liverpool.”

And as the saying goes, ‘famous last words’. We spent the next five hours or so being flung the length and breadth of the country at breakneck speeds.

10:02 we’d overshot Liverpool and ended up in Aberdeen.

10:27 we’d overshot Liverpool again on the way back, and ended up in Exeter.

10:50 we were in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

11:15 – Salisbury. 11:35 – Glasgow. 12:10 Southampton. 12:30 Edinburgh. 12:55 London. 13:27 Dundee. 13:49 Ipswich. 14:15 Blaenau Ffestiniog (we all cheered when we arrived there – even the sinister man!)  and at 14:47, dizzy and slightly dehydrated, we finally got back to Liverpool. Well, under the field somewhere outside of Liverpool, but that was near enough.

Due to all of the friction caused by all of the exertion (apparently these pods are designed for only four journeys a day) it had gotten rather hot. Fringe now looked more like a matted Cousin Itt, and we could all feel the flour starting to bake on us. The sinister man summed it up when he said “We’re lucky that the eggs, butter and sugar didn’t hurl themselves at the wall as well, or we could have all become like sultanas in a giant cake mix.”

We mustered a laugh, but were shattered.

Pencilskirt helped us all out of the pod, and up to the limo. She got in first, with none of the grace from earlier, and we all clambered in after her.

Very kindly, the firm drove us all home, after making arrangements for our own vehicles to be picked up and shipped home also.

And that brings us to now.

I still can’t get this flour off completely, but it’s going gradually. I’m getting over it now, but like I said at the beginning… I do not believe it! You couldn’t make it up.

I don’t think I’ll be going next time, though. I think I’d rather be stuck in traffic.

(From the archives)

Keeping Calm and Carrying On (1)

…ooh, how we laughed. It weren’t so much the puddle that made us laugh, but what went in it. She were stood with ‘er back to it, and me, I were face on. It ‘ad stopped rainin’ about an ‘our ago an’ there were about three others inth’ queue beyind. We could see th’bus comin’ over th’brow, but none of us saw th’lorry trundle rarndth corner. It’s them pot ‘ole’s faults. Fancy one bein’ by th’bus stop. Anyway, th’lorry’s wheel went right through th’ole, splashed th’puddle all over th’five of us in th’queue. She took the brunt. The brunt. She were saturated. Saturated, right through to ‘er smalls. I copped it all down one side, and th’others in th’queue caught the muddy splashes. The man width’ paper had to throw it away, it tore right through it. ‘E chuckled first. Then me. Then she started. Before long, we were all ‘owlin’. Like I said, it weren’t th’puddle that tickled us, but th’lorry.  The man width’ paper pointed out what were on th’side: ‘sure to keep you dry longer’. An’ the bus just sailed passed. Out of service. That really set us off…

Eight under two ‘undred words. There we go.

Earth Day 2019

The imaginary life of a water droplet

The streams of time passed through the land as they always had. They began, high up in the hills, tiny tiny droplets of water that swirled and massed and gathered together, gently rolling, merging, co-existing. Eventually, they began to flow, ever downwards, ever forwards.

Passed the tiny seedlings, the grass banks, the open fields, the ferns an the oak trees, they continued on their journey,

Under wooden bridges, rickety and ravaged by time they flowed. Salmon swam in the opposite direction, intent on continuing their cycle of life.

They followed the meanderings of their predecessors, this way and that, carving their way through the environment. They caught up with those gone before, becoming stronger. Wider.

Through villages they passed. Green lawns with tents and afternoon teas. Through more farmland, full with cows and sheep munching away on the ripest of grasses.

They came to abrupt halts every now and again as they arrived at man-made locks. Some flowed in a different direction as the joined man-made canals, others continued on their journey. Whichever way they went, they passed through the darkness.

Murky, oily waste water merged with them, slowing their flow, and removing most of the freshness from them. However, onwards they travelled.

Eventually, they found themselves mostly cleaner as they passed through parts of the man-made towns and cities that needed to use them. The more they were needed, the more the towns and cities grew. And every once in a while the darkness would return.

Onwards they travelled.

Out of the towns and cities, through yet more lush countryside until they reach their destination. The open seas. Some travelled ever onwards. Others joined the clouds, and travelled back into land to the hilltops to start another journey afresh.

A continuous circle.

But how long the circle continues to exist remains to be seen.