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The Road to Meringue (The Conclusion)

Sometimes, days are just plain sailing. Up early(ish), breakfasted, dressed, and out and on with the rest of the day, and in what seems like a flash the day is coming to an end once again.

Most days, it could be said, are generally like that.

Some days, however, are so far removed from the truth; they are, well, unbelievable. I’m not so sure about this particular day. I don’t know whether it is believable or not now. I’m so confused; even I don’t know what was happening.

The day had begun like any other, when suddenly a stranger had burst into my Mansion, opened a black hole in my bathroom, altered reality and had somehow lured me from Cheshire, through Somerset, into an office building in the United States of America. It took me about an hour or so to get there… and I had driven the whole way.

The stranger was no longer strange. He was a man with a ‘unique’ accent, shall we say. Walpole E. Epstein was his name, and he worked for some organisation called the American Institute for Metaphysical Studies, A.I.F.M.S for short.

And he was about to explain what had actually been going on.

“This morning,” he started, “Do you remember, Tom, when I said that you could help me, and I in fact could help you?”

I vaguely remembered something like that, but said a confident yet enquiring “Yes”.

“Well,” Walpole continued, “This is now me helping you. You helped to get me home, here to the US of A, through the inter-dimensional portal that runs through your bathroom.”

“Yes, I’ve gathered that,” I said. I needed answers, but didn’t want to go through the whole story again.

“However,” Walpole’s face became serious once more. Have you noticed how people become more serious when they say however? Anyway, I digress, moving on…

“However, we altered reality. Bent time and space. Moulded the Universe in ways it shouldn’t have been moulded.”

“Yes, I know that…” I said, remembering the Cheshire-Somerset-USA borders.

“We now need to get you back home.” Walpole’s face was deadpan.

“I was home. I’d left there this morning, and drove a different way that’s all. I know the way home – it’s just back along that road, turn right where the man’s selling apples, and then turn left a little further along. I know the way!”

“You know the altered reality way” Walpole smiled again. “Not the correct way.”

“Oh” I was confused again. Have you ever been lost and not known it? A very weird sensation, I can tell you.

“We had to get you here, at this time, so we can send you through the portal and put things right. We ‘pointed’ you in the right direction with the broken signpost”

I remembered the fork in the road with the signpost, neither of which should have been there. The signpost pointed to Meringue, a place I’d never heard of either. I decided to follow the road and see where it led to, not necessarily to head into Meringue, but curiosity got the better of me.

Walpole was tapping something into his handheld computer.

“We need things to go full circle. We need to send you through the portal, back into your bathroom to this morning. We told you what to do through the signpost. It was meant especially for you. The thing is you didn’t realise.”

“Eh?” I said.

“You still don’t realise. Even when you knocked on this office door, the clues were still there, but you didn’t get them.”

“OK, Walpole. It may be months in the future for you, but it’s still this morning for me. I’m confused enough already, so could you explain the clues for me?” I was actually surprised my sentence made some kind of sense.

“Certainly!” Walpole laughed again. “Please, answer these questions… it’s more fun this way!”

I nodded.

“What begins with an upper case M in your world? A capital letter M?”

I couldn’t think. “My Mansion?” I asked, as I almost always usually use the capital M.

“Well, yes… but something else. Something you use most days, with more than one capital M for that matter.”

I couldn’t get it. “Pass!” I said, pretending I was on a game show.

“Another clue… your blog!” Walpole looked at me as though he had given the whole game away.

“Me?” I asked. “Me! Me! Me me me!” I said for good measure.

“Yes!” Walpole clapped “But only one ‘Me’!”

I imagined the header to my blog with only one ‘Me’ up there, and decided that I wouldn’t change it just yet.

“The next clue,” Walpole was loving this, “What is the phrase when you start something, and then go right the way round, back to the beginning again?”

“Going full circle?” I asked, inspired.

“Correct! What shape is a circle?”

“Er… circular?” I kid you not, he asked that question.

Walpole shouted “THINK!” and then lowered his voice again. “What can you describe as circular?”

“A ball?” I asked.

“No no no no, a ball’s round, not circular. Try again.”

“A ring?” I asked again.

“YES!” Walpole was jumping up and down.

A wind was starting to get up in the office, but the window wasn’t open.

“Ignore the wind – it’s just the portal opening.” Walpole had gone all serious again. “You want to know how we managed to get you here. We left you clues that you followed. You picked up on them without realising, which is brilliant! Me! Ring! And UE. I love that one. We played a blinder with that one. We let you know that everything was a clue by the number to this office.”

I thought back to the sign on the door. CL1. I’d been following signs all morning, not paying any attention to them. CL and UE make the word CLUE. I was very pleased with myself and shouted “CLUE!”

“No, we were playing with that one!” Walpole laughed again, as several sheets of paper swirled around him because of the wind. “Hold your shield in front of you, the portal will be open soon, and it will help you on the way through. Don’t worry, it’s perfectly safe. You’re the key and that’s the keyhole if you like. You’re about to relock reality back to how it should be.”

“But the clue…” I wanted to know. “If it wasn’t clue, what is it?”

“Ah… UE…” Walpole drummed his fingers together as a stapler narrowly missed his head. “UE is an abbreviation for Urban Exploration… which means investigating the normally unseen or off-limits parts of urban areas or industrial facilities… which you did by investigating the reality that shouldn’t exist. We doubted you’d get that, hence the CL on the door for good measure.”

The black hole was now open, and I could feel its pull.

“Just go with the flow!” Walpole shouted. “Once you’re through, none of this would have happened. I won’t exist. I told you that I wasn’t here this morning. Your shield will be the only thing that will connect this reality and yours, so take care of it… it’s our gift to you!”

“But wait – it’s my shield!” I proclaimed as I started to slide along the floor.

“It is now!” Walpole laughed. I could hear his voice gradually fade into the background with all the commotion from the black hole that was going on around me. His last words that I heard were “That’s the nature of a paradox”…

I hurtled out of the other end of the black hole, into the wall of my landing. The shield was on top of me, and something was rather uncomfortably sticking in my stomach. It was a tub of hair gel. I was back home in the Mansion. It was 7am.

There was a strong rapping at the door. I thought for a second, and decided to leave it. A second later I heard a parcel being pushed through the letterbox, with what sounded like some difficulty.

I decided to go back to bed for an hour or so, it had been one very strange morning. I never did get to see Meringue, yet in a roundabout way I almost did. Imagine if I hadn’t followed the sign and taken the shortcut… who knows where I would have ended up…

The Road to Meringue (Part Seven)

Sometimes, days are just plain sailing. Up early(ish), breakfasted, dressed, and out and on with the rest of the day, and in what seems like a flash the day is coming to an end once again.

Most days, it could be said, are generally like that.

Some days, however, are so far removed from the truth, they are, well, unbelievable.

I looked around the large, white, cool lobby in actual awe. I had no idea where I actually was, but knew that I was in actual awe.

Lydia pressed the button for the lift.

“You need Level C” she said, pointing to the elevator door, “and then Room L1. It’s opposite the elevator when you get out, so you can’t miss it. I have to wait as we are expecting a really special guest to arrive any minute now, and I must wait to meet him here. You can go alone.”

The door opened as a shrill bell tinged, and she bundled me into the confined space before I had chance to say anything. The door swiftly closed behind me before I could ask if I could take the stairs – I’m not too keen on lifts, you see. It was then that I wondered who the special guest could have been… and why was I sent to an official floor in an official building by myself?

I suddenly realised that the lift wasn’t moving, so I pressed the button for Floor C. The lift shuddered and began to move upwards.

Le-Vel Eh. Droned a robotic voice. Le-Vel Bay. It continued. I’m not very good with accents, but I’ve got the robotic one down to a tee! Le-Vel Say. With another ting, the door slid open, and across the corridor, in front of me, was Room CL1. Plays mend the gop. I looked down, and saw the tiniest of spaces between the floor of the lift and the floor of the corridor; there was absolutely no way I would fall down there. I stepped out of the lift, just as the door swiftly closed once again behind me, making an odd ‘gop’ sound. A shrill ting, and I then heard the car hum away to wherever.

I stepped across the corridor, and heard a familiar whirring noise. I noticed several CCTV cameras trained upon me. I instantly felt all… ‘official’.

I knocked on the door, and the familiar voice of Walpole E. Epstein followed a loud buzz and a click.

“Come on in, Tom!” He bellowed. “I bet you didn’t expect to see me again so soon, did you?”

As I walked into the room, he was stood just inside the door, arm already outstretched to shake my hand, which I did.

“Mr Epstein,” I started.

“Walpole, please!” He continued.

“Walpole, could you please tell me what’s going on? How have I ended up in the USA, when about an hour ago I was in Cheshire, in the UK?” He was about to speak when I thought of more questions. “How come everyone knows me? Why is my bathroom some kind of hub? Why was that man giving apples away on the corner… and does he have any more brothers? How did Somerset get a border with Cheshire? What accent was the robot using in the lift? When…”

“Whoa!” Walpole laughed hysterically, “So many questions and so little time!” He stopped laughing, and glared at me with one of the most sinister stares I have ever experienced. I shrunk. Suddenly, his face went back to normal.

“Yes, it’s true that there is an inter-dimensional portal within, beneath and around your bathroom. You helped me to get home from that strange dimension I was stuck in – thank you very much for that! – by allowing me to open it, but in doing so, we altered reality around everyone else. I needed your help to get home, which I told you about when we first met. It was this morning for you, but many months ago for me. We’ve been planning this second meeting for quite some time now.”

“Months?” I was starting to feel overdosed with confusion.

“Yup!” Walpole laughed again. “Here, catch!” he said as he threw something quickly at me. I didn’t react in time and completely missed the object, which turned out to be a tub of my hair gel. “Look familiar?”

Walpole had walked over to the other side of the office, pointing to a desk in front of a large window. On the desk was another familiar looking object. The shield from the wall in my landing, that I last saw hurtling passed me into the mysterious black hole in my bathroom this morning.

“How?” I had completely lost my power of speech.

“Well, I’m here, aren’t I? You just shook my hand!” Walpole had walked back over to me and patted me on my right arm. He handed me the shield. “This is yours, I believe. And this…” he said, bending to pick up the tub of hair gel.

Now then, how often do you find yourself standing in an office in a foreign country holding one of your own wall ornaments and a tub of hair product and you suddenly realise that you just haven’t got a clue what’s going on? Not very often? More often than not? Or somewhere in between? Me? I don’t know any more. I decided to go with the flow.

“So, Walpole, now that all of your planning has come together, and I’m here, what would you like me to do? And, how did you get me here, for that matter…? I came of my own free will this morning whilst going for a drive”

“Still more questions…” Walpole laughed once again. “Do you think the answers will make things any clearer?”

Walpole looked serious again as he said, “You followed the signs.”

I’m going to leave things here for now, as this post is extremely long once again.

I do hope you’ll return for the conclusion…

Haven

Almost two years ago, I wrote about the place of peace and tranquility. I think that it’s time to go and have a quick revisit.

I think that this place exists within everyone. Well, I hope it does anyway. If not, those who don’t have a place of peace and tranquility ought to try and find one for themselves. My place of peace and tranquility is an amazing, exotic place, and it has a very calming influence on me. It makes me feel good whenever I go there… and I can go there whenever I want to.

I can see my place of peace and tranquility in my minds eye, whenever I focus on it. I’m immediately transported there when I shift my focus, and it feels as real as the place I am currently in in my physical reality. I can stay there for as long a time as I wish, or just ‘pop in and out’ for a quick refresher!

I’m surrounded by lots of different trees and plants and flowers. If I look in one direction, I can see the open ocean. Clear blue waters with white waves gently lapping the golden sandy beach. A clear blue sky is above, and the sun is lovely and warm. The beach is a short walk from the clearing where I am standing and the plant life seem to be holding themselves back so I can see the openness of the ocean.

When I turn slowly to my right, the forest becomes really dense, with a canopy over head with all of the leaves and vines and branches, and the wonderful smells from the forest are brought to me. It’s always a little cooler here, and it has the appearance as though the rain has just stopped. The freshness of the forest is invigorating and refreshing.

Continuing my rotation to the right, the plants give way once again, but this time to a cool rock face, with a small cave which is slightly hidden by a gentle waterfall. The sunlight is beaming through the treetops looking in this direction, and looking at certain angles I can see little rainbows being created in the spray off the waterfall. Beneath the waterfall is a small pool, and the water is so clear I can see my reflection in it whenever I walk over to it. And looking into the cave, into the darkness, I can see lights twinkling as though I’m looking into the night sky. I can hear the rhythmic cascading of the water from the waterfall and the sound from the waves from the ocean, and together the sound regulates my breathing, so I am ‘in tune’ with what is going on around me.

Turning further around to my right, the greenery is returning, and the forest is coming back into view. This side of the forest has lots of multi coloured leaves and flowers, as this side gets more sunlight than the other side, and the pool has a little stream that flows into this side of the forest. Occasionally, I catch a glimpse of a small animal drinking from the stream. And sometimes, the animal isn’t that small! I’m perfectly safe though, as this is my place of peace and tranquility.

And then I’m back looking out to sea again. A cool breeze takes away any uncomfortable heat I may feel, but the temperature is always just right. I’m never too hot or too cold, but the temperature does change slightly as the place is alive! Sometimes, the breeze is stronger, sometimes there is no breeze. Sometimes, the sun is just about to set, or rise, so it is a little cooler, but still a comfortable temperature. Sometimes, I can hear the rain falling in the forest, but I am always dry.

This is my own little paradise. It costs nothing to go there, I’m there in a split second, and my feel good batteries are recharged as soon as I get there!

I just love to feel good!

Techie Tom


To say technology and I are compatible with one another would be a tad incorrect. Not that we are incompatible, I hasten to add, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to write these words. I wouldn’t be able to open my Windows Live Writer program to type this… I wouldn’t be able to even switch on my computer.

Technology is baffling to me. I can drive my car, but I have no idea really how it actually works. Yes I know that I plug my key in and turn it to fire the ignition, and I press a couple of pedals with my feet to make me go and stop, but what goes on underneath the bonnet is a mystery. When I buy a new car, the salesmen must sense this, as they always lift the bonnet to show me the engine.

“Ooo” I say in complete awe, looking at a mish-mash of metal, tubes and prongs.

Occasionally, I ride a bicycle. Occasionally. The last time I rode was in 2005, when my compatibility with anything technical was really highlighted. My amazing prowess was also highlighted as well, as I’ll now explain.

Before I start, I know that bicycles aren’t exactly new when it comes to the subject of technology, but they still have a certain amount of technical parts on them, and if you aren’t exactly technically minded things become more interesting.

I was merrily cycling away along a main road, when all of a sudden the handlebars lifted high into the air. The only thing connecting them to the rest of the bike in fact were the brake cables. Now, have you ever tried stopping a moving bicycle, whilst riding it, with detached handlebars? It’s not easy, and I managed it with aplomb.

Somehow, I managed to use the brake handles, which, funnily enough still worked. I glided freely along the road, gradually slowing myself down, so I could gently ride into an incoming wall without causing any damage to me, it or the bike.

I then managed to reattach the handlebars, and continued with my cycle ride, although very carefully.

For seven years I’ve been bike free, but watching the Olympics has kind of started to make me think about… no, I must remember the Technical Me.

I bought a new computer last week. A top of the range this with capability to do that and a gazillion GB memory and whotzits hard drive was the one I set out to buy, but the computer shop were out of stock of that particular model, so I had to buy a different one. And, as the shop was closing at 7pm and I had only started to be served at 6.45pm after waiting for what seemed like two hours, I had to make my decision pretty sharpish.

So I did, and I now have this new computer. It’s good, but it’s technical.

I have an art tablet attached, which I use for the occasional piece of digital ‘artwork’. Everything is loaded onto the computer fine, but the software that I use does not work as well as it should. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve installed and uninstalled it, only for it to work once and then fail. The pen will only work in the top right-hand corner of the screen, and is very slow.

I’ll sort it eventually, I know I will, but at the moment it’s a bit technical. It (the tablet AND the software) are now waiting in limbo for me to have another go at fixing it. Hopefully, man wouldn’t have reached Mars before I get it sorted…

I set up my new email thingy with all of my email accounts, and last night, instead of my name being sent as the sender, it was sending other details. Goodness knows how I set it to do that, but it was sending parts of messages, parts of memorable information, in fact anything but my name.

I spent a good while sending emails to and fro between all of my accounts (I have several email addresses) to try and sort out what was going on. I think it’s sorted now, but I’ll have to keep an eye on things for the time being. If I send you an email, it should say that it is from Tom, but it may be from something like spectrum456, or thanks for your email…

Technology and me. A rocky relationship if ever there was one.

The thing is, and this is all the more baffling… I work with computers. I have to make sure that the programs on them work as they should. Or, to be more correct, make sure they can not be broken or crash.

I manage to make them crash all of the time. But how I do this, I just don’t know…

The Wednesday Fortune Cookie: Fortune Favours the Patient

Wednesday Fortune CookieAs I waited in the not-so-rush-hour traffic this morning, my attention was brought to a sign on the back of the white van in front of me. The van had one of those buckets that lift electricians up to the heights of street lighting hanging off the back, and this bucket was the reason why I hadn’t noticed the sign any earlier.

It’s funny, the things you think about or notice (or don’t notice for that matter) when you are waiting behind the wheel. It’s as though your mind wanders, and everything that is around you isn’t there. Or maybe that’s just me. I’m very often in another Parallel Universe anyway, so why not be in one whilst behind the wheel of a car as well?

Anyway, I digress.

The sign read “Caution. This vehicle stops irregularly.”

Now. Nothing untoward with that, is there? Well, when you start imagining the vehicle shimmying slightly, or hopping over to the side of the road as it is stopping, the sign takes on a different meaning entirely.

I imagined, whilst stationary, the van in front moving in a body-popping dance motion when it needed to stop. A double pirouette as it came into the side of the road. Fanfare and confetti as the wheels stopped turning. And a firework display as the engine was turned off.

A second later, the traffic started to move and my random daydream was over.

The power of words. They can take us to so many different places if we allow them to. Our imagination is a fantastic place, and the possibilities there are endless.

Bizarrely, a phrase sprung to mind this evening. “Softly,softly, catchee monkey”, which basically means patience gains the day. Waiting, as I knew my mind would bring another phrase, “Many a mickle makes a muckle” shortly followed. A load of small things makes a big one.

So. I think my mind is sending me a message today. The celebratory fireworks will come if I am patient, and take things one step at a time… there’s no need to rush anything.

I won the Euromillions last night.

No, not the £148,000,000.00 that was the top prize. I won £3.30. Which wasn’t bad, until you consider I’d paid £4.00 to play. My choice, I know, but another phrase comes to mind with regards to this… “one step forward and two steps back.”

I suppose the overall thing is the direction that I’m heading in, where I want to end up, and how I get there. Messages from the Universe appear every day… I just need to be able to take notice of the more relevant ones, and not the “Sale now on!” ones. Well, until I win the Euromillions, that is, and in that case I won’t need to pay attention to the “Sale now on!” signs anyway.

Sigh.

The power of words. Signs.

Softly, softly, catchee monkey… and feel good waiting!