writing

Gung-Ho!

Another week, another one-hour wonder! I suppose this is finished, but I don’t like the ending. I don’t know why ‘Gung-ho’ would be an especially Spanish name, but the joke about the sup came to me, so I had to make it Spanish. So, I don’t like the ending, but enjoy!

Gung-Ho! ***

3 Reviews – ££ – #1 of 2 restaurants in Cronge 

***** Love2Review

Excellent service, outstanding food. Not too pricey. Highly recommended.

Gung-Ho!

Thanks, Love2Review!

**** AlisonMorley

Best restaurant in Cronge!

Gung-Ho! 

Thanks, Alison!

Alison Morley

No problem! 

* MrPasta

Can’t believe the good reviews this place is getting. This place is awful. My server was completely uninterested in us. The food, if you can call it that, had obviously been sitting around for ages, because mine was cold when it arrived. Awful. 

Gung-Ho!

I’m sorry to hear that, Mr Pasta. We would be delighted in giving you a £25 bar tab to compensate for your cold food.

MrPasta

Thanks, but I’ll pass. Nothing can remove the taste of cold tomato soup. I’ll be spending my time now at Totorelli’s, the best restaurant in Cronge IMHO. 

Gung-Ho!

Cold tomato soup? Can you just run past us what you ordered again?

MrPasta

Gestapo soup.

Gung-Ho!

GAZPACHO soup is meant to be cold… 

MrPasta

Is it? Because no one else had even HEARD of Gestapo soup, and my wife has been to Italy, so she knows about these things. If you’re going to make stuff up, I’m going to take my custom to Cronge’s other, better, Italian restaurant, Totorelli’s.

Gung-Ho!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gazpacho   This might help. And we’re not an Italian restaurant, we’re a tapas bar, serving Spanish food.

MrPasta

You’re unbelievable. You’ve made up a whole wikipedia page because you were WRONG!

AlisonMorley

This is great. MrPasta, you need to bow out gracefully.

MrPasta

They pay their reviewers!

Gung-Ho!

We certainly do not. 

Love2Review

*grabs popcorn* Quit while you’re behind, Mr Pasta!

MrPasta

You’re all being paid to gang up on me! It shouldn’t be called gUng-ho, it should be gAng-up! You don’t get this kind of treatment at Totorelli’s.

Love2Review

I’m not being paid. Are you, Alison?

AlisonMorley

Certainly not, Love. Wish I was though! But speaking of paying for reviews, have you noticed how Mr Pasta has been banging on about Totorelli’s?

Love2Review

Hmm, suspicious!

MrPasta

I’m not being paid by Totorelli’s, which, incidentally, is the best restaurant for miles around, I just can’t believe the shoddy quality of Gung-Ho! There are only two restaurants in Cronge. You gotta pick a side. I pick Totorelli’s.

Love2Review

Is that £25 bar tab still on offer, Gung-ho?!

Totorelli’s **

3 Reviews – ££ – #2 of 2 restaurants in Cronge

*** Love2Review

Decent enough Italian, good food, just spoilt slightly by the overly-enthusiastic waiter.

**AlisonMorley

Meh, it’s ok. If you want a good plate of pasta, then sure, it’s fine. But here was a very zealous member of the waiting staff who ruined the night slightly. Would have given another star if only he’d calmed down a little.

Totorelli’s

I’m sorry to hear that. Obviously, we’re delighted that our for has inspired our staff to be so excitable, and remember, we are Italians! But we’re sorry it marred your night. 

***** MrPasta

Wow!!!! What a restaurant! Authentic food, authentic atmosphere! Utterly brilliant!!!!! I was blown away by the quality of everything, from the hand-ironed linen napkins, to the waiting staff, who I thought did an incredible job. 10/10, you should go!!

Love2Review

So MrPasta, we meet again. 

MrPasta

You’re that nasty reviewer who was paid by Gung-ho, aren’t you!

Love2Review

I wish I was being paid! Mate, listen, you obviously prefer Totorelli’s, but you don’t have to be quite so, well, gung-ho about it, if you don’t mind the expression. 

AlisonMorley

Love, have you not seen his profile pic? Look at that, think about the enthusiastic waiter… and put two and two together…

Love2Review

OMG, it’s you! 

Totorelli’s

I don’t know what you mean. 

Love2Review

Lol, don’t use your Totorelli’s work account to deny you’re working for Totorelli’s!

MrPasta

This comment was removed by TripAdvisor, who are investigating user MrPasta

AlisonMorley

Whew, that was quite a ride!

Gung-Ho!

Well, that was really something. Alison, Love2Review, there’s a £25 bar tab for you each as a token of appreciation for sorting this out. 

*****SignorLasagna

Excellent restaurant! Really loved it. Ignore all that drama above. It’s really great. If you’re ever in Cronge, this is the place to go.

Totorelli’s

Really pleased to hear that.

Gung-Ho!

MrPasta?! That you???

all about me, just for fun, out and about, photos

The next day…

…was Saturday, 20th June. Just another ordinary day, right? WRONG! It was my birthay! That’s right, our birthdays are only a day apart. Makes it easy to remember, I suppose. Anyway, we went to Margate, on the Kent coast. If you’ve never been, then go. If you have gone, then go again. It’s that good. The sand is yellow, the sea is blue, the sky is grey (well, only when we first arrived). Fish and chips taste better there and the houses are all different colours. I just Kent get enough!

Ah, Blighty. The sky did brighten up when we were there!
What’s the time, Mr Wolf?
CLOSED
“Here’s what you could have won”
My new friend
Mark was enjoying himself, I promise!
I love the colourful houses you get at the seaside
A red boat. A happy boat!
A white boat. A sad boat.
Life’s a beach
Our companion during lunch
Dirty birdies
Footprints in the sand
Why did the lobster blush? Because the sea weed.
Bloody useless stuff. Waste of a good pound!

By the way, if you are interested in hearing songs set in and around Margate, here a couple by the rockney rebels, Chas and Dave, and electro-pop duo the Pet Shop Boys.

family, friends, photos

Spoil the Boy

I find the Ruth Miskin phonic system really problematic. I’m sure I’ll vent at a later date, but one thing I doooooo quite like is the flashcard for the sound ‘oi’. It shows a boy getting lots of presents, and then underneath, it says, in nice curly writing, ‘spoil the boy’. So I took Ruth Miskin at her word, snd I… spoilt the boy.

It was my boyfriend’s birthday on Friday (19th June) so we had a socially-distanced barbecue with us, his sister, my brother, and his dog.

This is the first birthday we’ve lived together, so hiding and wrapping presents was a challenge (at one point, I did order him to just ‘leave the room, for goodness’ sake’) but I managed it! Here’s his haul:

Hard to see what this is, as it’s in its box. It’s a growler, grr, filled with beer.
For his crowning glory
Some everyday essentials
This goes…
…with this!
Through the wrapping process
Ta-da!
Pink washi tape, as Mark is confident in his masculinity
Spoil the boy!

writing

Mortal

Another one-hour special! This was written on a programme called Scrivener, and when I was writing it, I copy and pasted emoji in it. Worked well. When I copy and pasted the story into wordpress… they all disappeared. So just so you know, there were loads of emoji. It was very colourful. And if someone replies and here’s no writing, that was an emoji.

‘Mortal’ means ‘really really really drunk’ up in the North East. I don’t come from the north east, but it was the first thing that came to mind when given the spark word.

Also, I took major liberties with grammar and spelling. The computer did its best to reinstate capital letters and apostrophes and whatnot, but it is actually meant to be written wrongly, if that makes sense. I have no idea how da yoof text each other; I am seriously uncool, and used to use correct punctuation when I had my Nokia 5110.

Anyway, here is Mortal.

Girl’s on the Lose!

Participants

Staceeeeey (admin)

Becca 

Lady V

Mel

Thursday 11th June

Staceeeeey: rite lads, whos up for getting mortal tomoro. been to long!

Becca: Meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Lady V: 

    Mel: well up for it lol

     Becca: wheres gud these day’s

     Staceeeeeey: waikiki is open now, got new drink’s 

     Lady V: all I’m interested in!! Lol 

     Staceeeeeey: sat at 9 ok? x

     Mel: brill, c u then

        Friday 12th June

        Staceeeeey: Just checkin………. We all gud for gettin mortal tomoz?

        Becca: HE’LL YEAH

        Lady V: even washed my pulling pants lol

        Becca: lol

        Mel: do they work??????

         Becca: no! 

        Staceeeeey: no lol x

        Lady V: yes they do

        Staceeeeey: They mite work bettr if u didnt wash them…… if u see what I mean! 

        Mel: LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

Becca: grim

Lady V: u wait and see

Saturday 13th June 

Becca: getting mortal later lads! 

Lady V: pants all ready on lol 

Becca: leg’s shaved?

Lady V: got a brazziliun!

Mel: lol

Staceeeeeeey: rite the plan…………… meet at waikiki at 9, get right mortal an sleep all sunday !x

Mel: sounds like a planx

Sunday 14th June

Mel: uhhhhhhhhh

Staceeeeeeeey: kno the feeling lol

Becca: im never drinking agen

Staceeeeeeeey: was a gud nite tho

Mel: yehhhhhhhh

Becca: cant beleve the pulling pants worked vix

Becca: oi vix

Becca: victorrrrrrriaaaaaa lol r u there

Mel: shes prolly still busy 

Becca: yehhh 

Monday 15th June

Mel: any1 herd from vix yday

Becca: nope lol prolly still getting it on

Staceeeeeeeey: slag

Becca: lol

Mel: lol

Mel: really tho, any1 herd from her?shes ment 2 be in today

Becca: in where lol

Staceeeeeeeey: in her new lads pant’s

Becca: lol

Mel: in work

Becca: prolly pulled a sickie

Mel: prob

Staceeeeeeey: shes dun it loads of time’s before

Staceeeeeeey: dont wurry about it

Mel: ok

Tuesday 16th June

Becca: vix get yo lazzzzy ass into work were all getting a bollickin for lieing for u yestday

Becca: wat r u doin???????????? 

Staceeeeeeey: stop dicking us around vix 

Staceeeeeeey: uve made melanie cry

Staceeeeeeey: slag

Becca: lol

Becca: wen she gets out from under her guy shes going 2 have sooooo many messages!

Staceeeeeeey: lol

Mel: no im getting really worried guys

Mel: we shudnt joke

Mel: she mite be sick

Becca: yeh, haveing to much sex disease

Staceeeeeeeey: yeh 

Staceeeeeeeey: lol

Staceeeeeeeey: slag

Becca: she is

Staceeeeeeeey: slaaaaaaaaaaag

Mel: just rung her mum..they avnt herd from her

Staceeeeeeeey: tipical slag

Becca: lol

Mel: gotta bad feeling 

Wednesday 17th June

Mel: made new group lads

Mel invited you to join ‘RIP LADY V’

RIP LADY V

Participants

Mel (admin)

Becca

Staceeeeeeeey

Mel: rip vix

Mel:  miss u

Staceeeeeeey: cant beleve he did that too her

Becca: the 1 time her pulling pant’s work,,,,, an he turn’s out to be a psycho!!!!!

Staceeeeeeey: lol

Mel: that’s not funny becca

Becca: lighten up melanie

Staceeeeeeeey: its a JOKE mel

Mel: she was strangled by her pants……… i dont think its funny 

Becca: was r the plans for her funeral 

Staceeeeeeeey: going 2 get proper mortal

Becca: lol

writing

Wanderlust

One more from my one-hour writing sessions. I think this works as a piece of writing, and it’s certainly topical, but it doesn’t really ‘go’ anywhere. Still, I quite like it. Here it is:

Congratulations on your purchase of Wanderlust – Bringing the Outside, Inside (TM)! You have opened a new world of possibility so let’s get going! First, enter your name. Welcome, Andy88! Now create a password for your account. Passwords must be between 6 and 14 letters long, with at least 1 capital letter and 1 number.  I’m sorry, Password1 is not secure. Please enter a new password. I’m sorry, Andy88pword is not secure. Please enter a new password. Bl00dymachine accepted.

Before you begin your virtual travels on Wanderlust – Bringing the Outside, Inside (TM)! you need to select your avatar. Please select your avatar. You have selected ‘bald male’. Would you like to add accessories? You have selected ‘glasses’. You have selected ‘bow tie’. Is this correct? Then let’s go exploring!

It’s a big world out there, and Wanderlust – Bringing the Outside, Inside (TM)! is ready to be your guide. Where would you like to begin? You have selected ‘Europe’. You have selected ‘Italy’. You have selected ‘Venice’. Is this correct? Then let’s go exploring!

Where would you like to travel to first? You can select from: St Mark’s Square, the Bridge of Sighs, the Grand Canal, or the Doge’s Palace. You have selected: Grand Canal. Is this correct? Then let’s get exploring!

Please select from the following gondoliers: Stefano, Pietro, Guido, Bruno. You have selected Pietro. Is this correct? Then let’s get exploring!

Would you like Pietro to sing or give facts? You have selected ‘sing’. 

Back.

Would you like Pietro to sing or give facts? You have selected ‘sing’.

Back.

Would you like Pietro to sing or give facts? You have selected ‘sing’. 

Settings: Sounds and noises: Singing gondolier: Off.

Away we go! With Wanderlust – Bringing the Outside, Inside (TM)! you can get up close and personal with some of the greatest sights in the world. We are on the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy, Europe. Pietro hopes you are enjoying the ride. Would you like him to sing for you?

You have selected ‘no’. Is this correct? Then let’s get exploring!

Enter destination for gondola ride. I’m sorry, I could not find ‘St Maek’s Square’. Please enter new destination. I’m sorry, I could not find ‘St Maek’s Square’. Please enter new destination. I’m sorry, I could not find ‘it was a bloody typo’. Did you mean St Mark’s Square? St Mark’s Square selected.

We have arrived at St Mark’s Square. Would you like to explore the square or enter the basilica? You have entered ‘explore the square’. Would you like to feed the pigeons? 

Settings: Display: Pigeons: Avoid pigeons.

Where would you like to explore now? You have selected ‘cafe’. 

Welcome to our typical Venetian cafe! My name is Cinzia, and I am your waitress! Would you like to view our typical Venetian menu? In it, you will find many facts about Venice, and tips and tricks to make your time on Wanderlust – Bringing the Outside, Inside (TM)! even better.  

Settings: Sounds and noises: Typical Venetian cafe: Waitress off.

writing

Triumph

I have been so disorganised lately. I have weeks and weeks of stories, and not posted them. Anyway, I’ll do better from now on.

Today’s spark word was Triumph, so I wrote about Triumph underwear (they’re a real company, and though I own no triumph underwear, I’m sure it’s great). As per, it is unfinished (I only had an hour, come on), but unusually, I had an end in sight this time: the girls would 9-5 their boss, and they would be triumphant. See what I did there? Anyway. It’s not my best, but it’s not my worst. Please excuse any typos; it’s an hour’s worth of first draft.

Katie Harris had never really liked her job, but now she absolutely hated it. Well, not necessarily the job, but the new manager. Martin Robinson had started three weeks ago and there had been an instant mutual loathing between both of them. 

Katie’s job was very simple: she sewed pairs of knickers. That’s all she did. She didn’t design the knickers, she didn’t cut the pattern, she was just given pieces of fabric which she turned into a pair of knickers. 

The work was repetitive and monotonous, so Katie had plenty of time to daydream. Her daydreams had changed in recent weeks, from marrying Ryan Gosling, to murdering Martin Robinson. 

The day he started was the worst. He had wanted to ‘get to know’ all the workers, so she had spent twenty excruciating minutes with him.

“How do you feel you encompass Triumph’s ethos?” he asked, to which Katie had shrugged. 

“I just make the knickers,” she said. 

“And that’s a very important part of the Triumph process, so well done you. You’re a very important cog. But Katie,” he clasped his hands together, “a cog can’t work on its own. It needs other cogs. How do you see yourself with the other cogs?”

“I make the tea,” she offered. 

Martin sighed. “Here at Triumph, we have very high expectations of all our cogs. You may think you’re only making knickers, but these knickers represent hours – hours – of work, of passion, of dedication. Even during tough times, during recession, war, famine, people still need knickers. The right underwear can make a woman feel special. No matter what she wears on the outside, she’ll feel good if she has a quality pair of knickers on. We’re boosting public morale with our work here.”

“Uh huh,” said Katie, a little cautiously. 

“We’re artists, you and I. But our art is a very special art. It’s art you can wear! Every woman can be a walking gallery, with exquisite masterpieces only she knows about. So don’t think of ‘just’ making knickers. You’re performing a public service. It is estimated that 36% of women in the UK wear Triumph underwear. That’s a lot of women! Tell me, Katie, are you wearing Triumph underwear right now?”   

“I’m sorry?!” she spluttered.

“Describe your knickers to me,” he said. He laced his hands behind his head and leaned back, watching her through half-closed lids. 

Katie could not for the life of her remember what knickers she was wearing. Should she check, or make it up?

“Umm, blue ones?” she said, after a long pause. “With yellow flowers.”

“They sound nice,” grunted Martin. 

“I think they’re from Primark,” she apologised. 

He was still reclining, and observed her lazily. “Think of who made those knickers, Katie. Think of who thought of your bottom being caressed by them. Think of who sewed that particular pair, that you slide up and down your thighs…”

Katie left while he was still talking. Face burning with embarrassment, she consulted with Jo, who was in charge of bras. 

“Did he make you describe your knickers?” asked Katie.

“No,” said Jo, “but he pinged my bra straps to make sure they fitted properly.” She looked at Katie. “Why? Is that weird?”

“Yes!” said Katie. “It’s very weird!”

Jo looked surprised. “I hadn’t really thought about it,” she said at last, “I thought he was just checking to make sure I was wearing the right size. But now you mention it, it’s a very improper style of management.”

Zarah, who also worked in the bra department, just so happened to be walking by. “Are you talking about Martin?” she asked. “He asked me if I ever wore stockings and suspenders. I said I usually wore tights, and he got really cross. Isn’t he such a sleaze?”

   “Sleaze is the word,” said Katie. “We need to do something about him.”

Three weeks had passed, and nothing had changed. Katie, Jo and Zarah had all complained to HR, who were as much use as a chocolate teapot. After the third week of being fobbed off with excuses, Katie decided drastic action must be taken. Somehow or other, she must expose (for want of a better word) Martin in front of HR. But how would she do it? She was sewing knickers on autopilot, so her daydreaming time was getting more and more intense. She fantasised about killing Martin by strangling him with a pair of tights, but she knew that wasn’t really feasible. She just needed to show him for who he really was to the higher-ups. 

writing

Retire

I’m still not good at updating this… I still have a backlog of about 3 weeks’ worth of one-hour writes to upload. This one was inspired by the word ‘retire’, and is, as usual, unfinished. I decided to write something I wouldn’t normally write, so this is first person, present tense. The experiment went well, but I think I’m always going to be a ‘third-person, past tense’ kinda gal. Anyway, here it is.

I am a good boy. I know I am, because they always say so. When I get a big drugs bust, they stroke me and call me good. I always wag my tail, but I don’t lick them, because that would be unprofessional. I am always professional. No one could accuse me of being soppy, or overly-affectionate. I like them, and we have a friendly relationship, but I am not a pet.

Until now.

PC Martin Burrows will be my owner. I’ll be his pet. I like Martin; we’ve had some adventures together, but everything has been strictly above board before. No licking, no snuggling. Like I say, I’m a professional. That said, I am looking forward to being part of a family. I know Martin is married, and I know his wife is pregnant with their first child. I will love this child. It will be like one of my pups. 

I look askance at Martin, his hands on the wheel, his face determined. Next to him sits PC Edward Burton. It took a while for them to warm up to each other, but now they’re quite friendly. That’s nice. I’m quite friendly with some of the dogs back at the station – Buster and Prince, especially. I’ll miss them when I’m gone. I’ll miss sniffing their bottoms and going to the toilet together. Still, things change. Their time will come. They’re still only 4, whereas I’m the very nearly the wrong side of 8. Retirement beckons. 

A call comes through on the radio. There’s to a be a raid on the warehouse by the docks. Big one, apparently. 

Martin turns his face towards me, sitting in the back.

“How about it, boy?” he says. “One last bust before you get to laze about all day?”

I’m there already, I tell him, through pants. (Barking is very frowned upon unless essential). Martin puts his foot on the accelerator, Edward turns the blue lights and siren on, and then we’re off, racing towards my last job.

It was a big one, all right. Heroin, with a street value of £3 million. Good thing we took that off the streets. I even got to bark a bit too, release a bit of energy. And now we’re back at the station and can you believe it? They’ve organised a little do for me. For me! I’m beyond touched.

The police are all eating chocolate cake and I’m eating a dog-friendly version, made with tripe and chicken livers. It’s delicious. They’ve put up some ‘happy retirement’ bunting and written me a card. That was sweet, but I can’t read, so Martin’s holding onto it for now. There’s a real party atmosphere and I’m going to miss this, I realise suddenly. Yes, I always knew I would miss it, but it hadn’t hit me before. This is the last time I’ll see DS Cooper and his 1998 World Cup mug, which he loves. The last time I’ll see Sergeant Wolfe, who is very fond of me, and used to give me pats on the head when she thought no one was looking. They’re a good crew. 

Do I really want this? Do I want to give all this in, just to chase my tail all day? Chasing my tail is fun, I’ll admit, and yes, I’ve had a few celebratory chases when we’ve done a good shift at the airport, but it’s not, well, it’s not fulfilling. You chase your tail, you catch it, then what? You’ve got a mouth full of tail. I’m not sure that would be the most efficient use of my time.

I’m milling this all over in my head, when Sergeant Wolfe comes over to me and Martin. She’s smiling, and Martin smiles back at her. 

“May I?” she says, indicating the empty chair next to Martin. 

“Of course!” he says. “Pull up a pew.”

She sits down, and for a minute, neither of them say anything. 

“I’m going to miss this little bugger,” says Sergeant Wolfe, breaking the silence. 

“I’ll bring him in every now and then,” says Martin. “It’s not like you’ll never see him again. And there’s all the other dogs.”

 “I know,” she sighs and scratches my ears in that spot she knows I love. “But Toto’s always been my favourite, haven’t you, Toto?” She scrunches up my fcae with her last words. I wag my tail involuntarily. I’ve always held Sergeant Wolfe in the highest esteem. Always referred to her as Sergeant Wolfe, despite all the other dogs calling her Sarah. It’s a sign of respect, always referring to her by her job title. But maybe I’ll call her Sarah, just for now. 

Sarah clears her throat. “How’s the wife coming along?” she asks.

“Good, good,” says Martin. 

“Not long now, is it?”

“Two months,” he grins. “Just time to get this one – “ he indicates me “ – settled and then yes, parenthood beckons.”

I thought she’d be pleased for him, but to my surprise, she bursts into tears. It is evidently to Martin’s surprise too, because he immediately starts flustering and isn’t sure what to do. 

“I’m sorry,” sobs Sarah into a tissue that she’s pulled out of her sleeve. “It’s just, I’m so lonely. You’ve got your wife, a child on the way, and now you’re getting my favourite dog…” She tails off. I feel a puff of pride. I was her favourite! I’ve always been fond of her, so I put my head in her lap, but this only makes her worse. I hastily retreat while she hiccups and apologises. 

“Why,” says Martin, treading very carefully, “don’t you come round for dinner one night? I make a mean mushroom risotto.”

She looks up at him, smiling through her tears.

“That would be nice,” she manages.  

writing

Cheap

Happy lockdown, everybody! I’d forgotten my login for this site, so even though our Saturday meetings have continued (online), I couldn’t put my stories up here. Sorry. So I’ve got three weeks’ worth of stories! (I missed a couple of weeks.)

Anyway, this story was inspired by the word ‘cheap’. I don’t like it very much, I think it’s definitely one of my weaker stories, but I’ve written it, so here it is.

Her mother was talking again. Something about budgeting; Rosie wasn’t really listening. She surreptitiously opened her book of signatures and looked down appraisingly.

“Rosie Thacker,” written in large, looping letters. “Rosie Thacker,” a slightly more serious signature. “Rosie Thacker,” printed. “Rosie Thacker,” written with the Rosie above the Thacker.

“Rosie Whittaker! You haven’t been listening to a thing I’ve been saying, have you?”

“I have,” argued Rosie. “You were talking about budgets.”

Her mother harrumphed. “That was a lucky guess. Rosie, love, it’s nice that you want a big dream wedding, but don’t you think things are, you know, getting out of hand a touch?”

Rosie was saved from answering by the doorbell. 

“Saved by the bell,” muttered Mrs Whittaker as she went to see who it was, and left Rosie looking starry-eyed at her future signature book. A new name meant a new start. She could write her signature however she wanted – ooh! – maybe she’d have a swooping line underneath, or even sign as “Mrs Adam Thacker”, or…

“Rosemary,” came the low, warning tones of Mrs Whittaker, “what the hell is this?” She entered the kitchen carrying a box of enormous proportions. A delivery driver followed after, a box under each arm. 

“Oooh, lovely, my flowers came!” squealed Rosie.

“What do you need flowers for?” asked Mrs Whittaker.

The delivery driver, sensing he didn’t want to be there, scuttled out, leaving mother and daughter glaring at each other.

“I need flowers,” said Rosie, in a voice you would use to explain a complicated subject to a 5-year old, “because I’m getting married.”

“You’re not getting married,” said her mother in the same voice, “until July. And it is February. These flowers will be dead by then.”

“I need them for practising,” said Rosie. “How else will I know what colour nail varnish the bridesmaids will be wearing if we don’t practise with real flowers?” 

TWO YEARS LATER

Rosie was smarting. She had just received a very cutting letter from Adam’s solicitors. He wanted the washing machine. Why he wanted the washing machine was anyone’s guess – he never used it, in all the six months they’d been married. Spite, she decided. It was pure spite.

John, her lovely new boyfriend, placed a cup of coffee at her elbow.

“Thanks love,” she said, a trifle absently. 

He sat down in the armchair next to her. 

“Bad news?” he asked. 

“He wants the washing machine. I doubt the bastard even knew we had a washing machine, but there we go, he wants it.”

John nodded sympathetically. “When Karen left me, we even argued over the leftover Dettol wipes. It gets better, I promise.” 

Rosie was still at a loss to explain what had happened. It had been a lovely day that July – she’d been the centre of attention – so why had they split, and so acrimoniously, only six months later?

“It’s today that he announced he was leaving,” she told John. “22nd February, two years ago. Breaks my heart.” She swallowed away her tears. 

“Well,” said John, steeling himself, “why don’t we make today a happy day? We’ll get our outdoor clothes on, head out to the moors and have a winter picnic. And, oh,” he added casually, “something came for you the other day.”

“Not another bill for that sodding wedding, is it?” asked Rosie. “Two years later and I’m still paying it off! £85,000! Never again!”

John faltered. “What do you mean, never again?”

“I’m never spending that much money, on what was essentially a party, again.”

“But you’d get marrried again,” asked John, hope in his eyes.

Rosie hit him with a cushion. “Yes, you daft bugger. Just, when the time is right.”

“Is the time right now?” asked John.

Rosie looked at him. 

“Yes,” she finally said. “The time is right.” 

“Good,” said John, before reaching into his pocket and pulling out a little box. “Because this arrived the other day…”

“Oh it’s perfect,” said Rosie, as John slipped the ring on her finger. “Of course I’ll marry you. But on one condition.”

“What’s that?” asked John, feeling nervous all of a sudden.    

“That we do it cheap.”

John laughed, relieved.

“The cheapest in Yorkshire,” he promised. They clinked coffee mugs. “To cheapness!” they toasted.

writing

Decorum 2.0

A few weeks ago, when I wasn’t self-isolating and could leave the house, I went to my Saturday group and wrote a piece called ‘Decorum’. It was ok, but I think this piece – written a few years ago now – is better. So enjoy it! Decorum the second!

Shh, thank you, thanks, shh please. Well, I’ve always known this day would come: the day I say goodbye to my innocent unworldly young girl, and instead say hel-lo to a beautiful confident woman – still young though, I hasten to add! Though the clock is ticking darling – you got in there just in time, Simon! Ha ha! I’m only kidding: she’s still got a few good years ahead of her left.

Anyway, time now for a few helloes: hello Janice and Eric, all the way from Swansea, and hello to Patricia and Iain, all the way from Ozz-traylia! G’day, I should be saying. Or good arvo, I suppose. Or even, give us our ashes back, you load of criminal bastards! Ha ha, no I’m just joking. Still, thanks for making the effort to come. I wish I could say the same about Lucy and John, who only live in Peterborough, but there we have it. And last of all, hello to Samantha and Luke, who were the last to reply!

I am delighted, on a serious note, to see Mike and David here as we’re very welcoming of all sorts, we are, and I am very pleased you feel comfortable enough to come together, considering what my Shelly’s mum thinks of your lot. Still, like I say, Shelly and I are please to allow you here because we’re absolutely fine with what you two get up to – but don’t go getting any funny ideas, Simon, Shelly and I do want grandchildren at some point!

And very last and finally, a special hello to Chy – Che – Cheese-ome? Is that how you say it, Nicole? Cheese-ome? You know, your black friend! What’s her name? Cheeseym? Chisom? Lovely. Well, welcome here Chisom, we’ve got some nice music for you later, some nice Stevie Wonder. Hope you like it! I’m sure you will: you’re all such good dancers! Sorry? What’s that, Nic? Broken her leg? Oh well, you’ll enjoy swaying, like Stevie Wonder himself! If anyone fancies sitting down, then do please keep Chisom company – she’s the one with the lovely white teeth, but they all have, haven’t they? What’s that, Nic? Get on with what? Ok, I suppose that’s enough helloes. You can’t boss me around Nic, I’m not Simon! Watch out Si, ‘She Who Must Be Obeyed’ has given her orders!

Anyway, welcome everyone. I hope you’re enjoying yourselves! After all, Shell and I remortgaged the house to pay for this, so no ruining the tablecloths! Simon very kindly offered to pay half, but as the father of the bride, it is my duty, and he’s not exactly on his six-figure salary yet, is he Nic? Actually, and I’m sure he won’t mind me saying this, but he’s not on any salary at the moment, so I’m sure they’ll welcome any cheques for them, but he’s promised to get over his back thing and get a proper job because my little Princess doesn’t want to be a working mother! Anyway, Nic, if he can’t provide in the meantime, Mum and Dad Bank plc is open 24/7 darling, so don’t worry about anything. And even though Jamie had a good job and his own flat, you chose Simon and me and mum couldn’t be more prouder of you. So this is for Simon and Nicole, who love each other and that’s all that matters!

So now we come to the cards: this one says “congratulations on your wedding day” from Jean McLean – Donald’s name conspicuously absent, I notice! See Nicole, that’s how not to be married! And a cheque for £25 – well, that’s err, very kind of you, especially after he’s taken everything. So thanks then, Miss, Mrs – well, Nic, she’s kept the name, I don’t know what to bloody call her – and this one says “congratulations on your happy day” from Rob Jenkins with a £100 John Lewis voucher – that’s more like it! – and this says “best wishes on your life together” from, err, I can’t quite read it. Not from you, is it Chesse-ome?! And there’ no cheque, so maybe it’s best I don’t know who it’s from, eh Shelly? And this one from the Campbells says “massive congratulations”, and in it they say they got you a toaster. Well, they’ve already got a Dualit twin sandwich toastie maker, so it’d better be a Kenwood at the very least!

And, princess, while we’re on the subject of presents, me and mum have… dun dun da! Bought you the bungalow next to ours! So now you’ll never be too busy to see your old dad! Yes, darling, really! Riiiight next door, yes! Although it is detached – we want grandchildren, but don’t want to hear how they’re being made! Ah, my princess is so overcome, she’s crying. Don’t cry, Nic: we’ve still got the photos to go and that make-up artist cost an arm and a leg. So, while Simon’s STILL unemployed you won’t have to worry abpout the rent on that nasty London flat – you’ll be back in Surrey with us! Nic, love, I haven’t made the toast yet, don’t go downing all that wine. Anyway, Nic, me and mum are so proud of you, and hope we never have to do this again, so you’d better behave yourself Simon! I’ve got my eye on you! No ending up like the McLeans – that’s right, isn’t it Jean? Real miserable on your own. Anyway, ladies and gentlemen, please raise your glasses to the happy couple, our next door neighbours and parents of our future grandchildren, the lovely Nicole and her husband Simon!

all about me, out and about, photos

Strictly Come Touring!

I received the BEST PRESENT EVER at Christmas: tickets for the Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour in London! As regular readers will be aware, Strictly is my favourite programme ever ever ever ever, so this was a very good present. I was a touch excited.

I won’t waffle on too much, because I have heaps of poor-quality phone photos to show you, but suffice to say, it was marvellous. One might even go as far as to call it fab-u-lous, or uh-may-zing. Kelvin won, which I was happy with, though apparently he’s won every single night! Move over Kelvin, let Magic Mike Bushell have a turn! Anyway. To the blurry photographs!

A big pink curtain
We bought 10 paddles. We didn’t waste our money.
10!
And again! 10s all round!
I was happy, I promise!
See?
Exciiiiiiiiited!
It was busy. Long queue at the toilets!
The hostess with the mostest, Stacy Dooley!
Bruno, Shirley, Craig. Love, love, love.
Actual dancing!