Another Year

We, are celebrating another full year of blogging. Thank you to everyone who has connected with myself and my chunky, cuddly dogs.

I was away for a few days and Bob (and Ellie) were being taken care of by my son. He took pity on Bob who does not have a very exciting life and brought him to work with him for a day. The pictures below show a very relaxed chilled out dog, letting the exertions of everyone at the gym wash over him. He was only interested in hugs, or so they thought.

bob and moira in gym

bob and stephen in gym

However, during the afternoon, Bob decided it was time for him to take a little creative walk.

He set off, unknown to those working out.

Another athlete walking into the gym couldn’t understand why his remark created such a fuss. “I have just seen a very nice looking husky sitting patiently outside the cupcake factory door.”

Yep, you guessed it, Bob decided his new best friends were going to be the makers of some very nice cupcakes. And everyone thinks Ellie is the smart one!

 

I know you know

Giveaway – Freebie Book for young readers

As posted on Mudpilewood.com:

Technically a giveaway in return for reviews could be questioned as not being a giveaway, but that is the deal.  I will post, to three readers, a copy of my book in return for their review. I will leave the giveaway open for two weeks.

I considered many complicated ways of holding this competition but decided simple is best.

Posted below is the first chapter of my book. The names of everyone who answer the following question will be put in a hat, (beanie) and three pulled out.

runaway_schoolhouse_cover_Latest_151031

Chapter 1

 

John and Sara Buggy were twins who didn’t look alike. They didn’t think or act alike either. In fact, they were complete opposites. Sara was a quiet, studious type while John was a messer who hated school and spent his days there playing practical jokes.

One blustery, grey Monday morning, they trudged their way to school, all set for another run-of-the-mill day in the tiny two-classroom building.

“Why are we walking so fast?” Sara asked John.

“I have something to do,” he replied, with the begining of a smile tugging at his mouth.

She knew that look but instead of pressing him further, concentrated on stretching her short legs to keep up with his longer stride. There was a six-inch height difference between them and while John had a head of smooth, dark brown hair, Sara was stuck with a headful of tangled red curls. This didn’t sit well with her.

“School is the oddest place because most of what we learn is pretty useless in the real world,” John was saying, as they walked through the main door.

Sara considered her answer for a moment.

“You may think you’re right but I like learning new things and it’s always so cosy in here.”

***

Once they were seated,  Sara started to worry about what trick John was about to play on their teacher. Mrs Brown, she noticed, kept sniffing and clutching a hanky to her nose. Sara wondered if she were ill. She glanced at John who winked at her.

“Not long now,” he whispered.

“What have you done?” she hissed back.

Suddenly, Mrs Brown sneezed. John giggled. Sara turned her attention back to their teacher who sat in her chair with her nose twitching like a rabbit. She sneezed six times in succession, sending her glasses bouncing onto her desk. Eventually, she managed to stop long enough to hold her nose and shove her glasses back in place. Getting up from her desk she walked to the door and said very quickly, “Carry on with your maths.” This short statement was followed by more sneezing as she left the room.

John was given many high fives and claps on the back as his mates asked how he did it.

“A master never reveals his secrets,” he grinned.

Sara was not impressed.

“Someday Mrs Brown will get really mad at you and…”

“And what?” John demanded. “Writing a hundred lines is nothing I haven’t done before. Now, come on, it’s break time.”

Suddenly a shadow fell across his desk and Mrs Brown said, in a sharp tone, “Let’s try five hundred lines on the whiteboard today John, not on your tablet where you are a master at copy and paste. The line, I should not play pranks on the teacher, is to be written at lunchtime.”

Mrs Brown then turned to Sara adding, “And John is to do it on his own.”

“Yes, Mrs Brown,” Sara said.

***

At lunchtime Sara slipped back into the classroom to help her brother but found him staring at the whiteboard.

“You haven’t written many lines,” she said. Sara noticed a message written across the board – and it wasn’t in John’s handwriting.

School is a useful tool for life, John and Sara.

Sara read the words aloud and looked at John.

“I didn’t do it.The board was clean when I began and then it just appeared. It’s wrong anyway, school is stupid.”

He wiped the message away.

“Perhaps it is magic?” Sara said in a wistful tone.

“Huh, there is no such thing,” John sneered. “If there was I would click my fingers and the board would be full of lines, just like this.”

Turning to face Sara he clicked his fingers but noticed her smile fade as she pointed back to the board.

There before them, more lines of the same sentence appeared. They watched as they scrawled, with no sign of a marker, in neat, tidy rows.

Sara counted the lines.

“There are twenty rows of twenty-five lines.” She looked at John. “Did you do this? Do something else!”

“Two packets of crisps,” John shouted, then clicked his fingers and waited. Nothing happened.

Sara was busy staring at the board again. She read the message aloud.

You have enough lunch to eat in your schoolbag.

“I don’t like this. Is it a ghost? ” Sara whispered and jumped further away from the board.

John was curious and moved closer. “Rubbish! Ghosts don’t exist.”

“I wonder why it happened today?” And no sooner had she said it but the words changed and she read aloud, Today is my birthday, I am one hundred years old.

Gathering all of her courage Sara said,  “Happy Birthday to you but who are you?”

I am the schoolhouse you are standing in and my name is Clearie.

“Clearie, what an awesome name!” John said.

The words on the bottom changed once more and they both read the message.

Clearie means minstrel and scholar in Irish.

Suddenly, the ringing of the bell announced the end of break and the arrival of the other children back into the room, prevented Sara and John from finding out more.

Sara did notice the last message was wiped clean before Mrs Brown arrived back to her desk but she instinctively knew it wouldn’t be the last of them.

In the meantime, there was John’s lack of lines to worry about…

 

*******

What was the first message to appear on the board that was not written by either John or Sara?

Bob’s Diary: On the road – again.

You think you humans would learn. Somethings will never change,

roads will stay busy,

car on road

Dogs will always love trees no matter the shape or size,

ipp

And some dogs will always love walking, leading

bob on road

But this Bob will always, prefer,

IMG_9231

being at home for tea.

 

Best day ever of 2016 for Bob

Bob woke the house early on Friday morning. At first I thought he must be unwell, as it wasn’t his usual, get up and make my breakfast call.

The first thing I noticed when I opened the back door was the look of disbelief on his face.

disbelief bob

It had snowed. And we all know Bob loves snow.

But it is becoming clear that old age is catching up with him as he spent the next half an hour simply pottering about.

bob pottering 2Bob pottering

While Ellie was all about moving:ellie4snow ellie3 ellieballsnow elliieball5 Ellie 1 snow

He, I believe, was remembering

ellie and bob in snow

Real snow! And saving his energy for its return.

Irish Spring is a hit and miss affair, a bit like Irish Politics.

Days are stretching – indicating Spring is here even if the weather is contradicting this.

Bob does enjoy a good roll in the frosty grass.

Or a snooze in the sun while windows are cleaned.

While on a morning walk we noticed that weddings are happening.

Best of all, the woods are full of fun stuff to do,

just as well really as it has taken two days to post this to the site.

If you have any internet speed tips for this blogger, please apply below. All suggestions will save more jelly babies from being munched on.

How I missed out on my ultimate job but somehow it found me.

 

My Ultimate Job

I have always loved dogs. But I haven’t always embraced life due to shyness, meeting insensitive arrogant people and so on, (you know how it goes) so I spent the first half of my life hiding away from people. Past experience taught me that not everyone was like my kindhearted father.

However, lady luck did smile on me in numerous ways, I married my soul mate and had two wonderful children and started writing. Though I hated my paid job, which was stressful and often felt like it should have been sent by worm hole back to the 1800’s, I soldiered on simply to make a living.

Then it happened, I met Bob

bob2                              bob for heading

 

This fluffy wolf who was either going home with us or to a dog pound. How could we not take him? He came with us and captured everyone’s hearts. Through him I made a discovery.

I should have been working with dogs.

This heartfelt belief stayed with me, as I volunteered to work in a friends kennels. Then we made another decision, Bob missed us while we were working and he required a friend, with four legs and a waggy tail. The rest is history. We traveled to the North west of Ireland, Bob interviewed 20 dogs and came home with the pup who stole his and our hearts.

 

50-79Ellie pupThis pup again transformed my life. She was relentless always finding things from tennis balls

ellies final word

 

displaying a vivid creative energy. We knew we had to find her a job, before she drove Bob, and us, nuts.

Her job – finding people or recovering them has led us into many new adventures.ipp

ipp

Hisilicon K3

And through her training I have discovered I was right – I should have been working with animals. But I do so now, by volunteering at a kennels, dog walking and dog training and all thanks to these four legged friends, especially Bob and Ellie

ipp

 

I often feel like  this:

Maria young

I am a six year old, again.

 

The Tattoo

 

I’m staring at my arm. I blink. Blink again, in the hope that I will wake up. I have to be dreaming. The painful, carefully drawn dragon that I paid good hard earned cash for some days ago, has vanished.

It began this morning. While showering, I noticed that the ink was fading.
I attempted to reason the hows and whys of this happening. Had I been conned? Money exchanged for a simple cheap tacky job. But no, I couldn’t call it either tacky or cheap and it hurt.

The tattoo was to mark the turning point in my life. I was free from him. My husband. This was to be the start of my new life and to mark it I went out and did something incredibly stupid. I got a tattoo. I had always said tattoo’s were pointless and not for those over thirty. But here I was at thirty eight complete with tattoo.

Except for one small puzzling fact. It was disappearing.

dragon

Dragon by Sara M.

I decided to return to the scene of the crime – the tattoo shop. It was small, crowded and busy.

A fact not to be ignored given that thousands of us (Irish people) rant and rave about taxes and the loss of income, many of us compound our misery by acquiring a tattoo.

Anyway, the door bell jangles as I enter. He looks up. Squints, at me, which should have been off putting given his employment asks for keen eyesight.  He scowls, then flicks the cigarette butt into a can sitting on a shelf and grunts. The current victim sitting in the chair is young, pale faced and clutching a tin of alcohol. I grimace, turn from him and face my problem.
“Lo.” He grudgingly acknowledges my presence and waves his implement of torture at me.
“I….” Clearing my throat I start again. “We have a problem. The tattoo you gave me is disappearing.”
He smiles. This is not a pleasant smile. It is a horrific metal smile. Cool and ugly.
“I want whatever you are on.” His throaty reply brings a squeak from the boy in the chair.
“Can I have some? Does it make the pain go away?”
I ignore the artists latest victim and focus on my problem.

I stare at him but he is staring at my arm. I l discover, that once again, I have a tattoo of a dragon on my arm.
“I think you should go for a sleep and relax. It looks like a nice clean job, swelling has already vanished. You will be fine.” He dismiss’ me and turns away.
I am staring at the dragon and feel the blood drain from my face. ” It’s back.” I whisper ignoring the giggling of the other occupants. I leave as quietly as I can.
However two minutes later, cutting through the park, I glance down. No tattoo. This is madness. I head for a park bench.
“I must be crazy.”
“You are not but I wouldn’t class you as being un-crazy either.” The voice is pleasant, elderly but pleasant. I look around and see nothing. Not even a cat lazing in the bushes or a bird tweeting in a tree.
Now I know I am losing my sanity.
I feel a tweak of heat on my arm and I glance down. The dragon stares up at me. He is approximately three inches tall and is breathing fire at an amazing rate.
“Please don’t do that.”
“Why? I’ve lain amongst the pages of that blasted book for ever and now that I’m free, why not?’
I shrug my shoulders and consider my answer. To give him his due I can understand his need to escape. “But it’s my arm and I would rather not be burnt.”
He smiles at me . “I’m George, by the way.” As he speaks the fair hairs on my arm are singed.

Grimacing with pain, I lean over and pluck a leafy twig from the nearest shrub. “Try this.”
He does and is happy with the result which is a black shriveled up mess in my hand. How do I know he is happy? Because he begins to dance, tap dance by the amount of pain he is inflicting on me, all the way up and down my arm and finally moves along the seat I am sitting on.
A shadow looms above me and I look up. The park keeper is standing glaring at me. “Why would you do that?”
“What?” I am really puzzled.
“Set a twig on fire.” He has yanked off his cap and is mopping his brow. His bald head is a shining example of cleanliness.
“I didn’t..” I begin.
“It was me.” George explains as he jumps onto the arm of the bench. To re inforce his point he lets out a bellow of fire that catches the end of the park keepers hanky that protrudes from his hip pocket. It goes up in smoke. He looks at me and at George. He faints, landing on the ground with a nice thud.
Standing up, I step over him saying, “looks as though life has lost its boring factor. How would you like to meet my ex husband?”
George smiles and I leave the park with him sitting on my shoulder.

Story originally posted on CC as part of a weekly challenge. – Maria.