Maria’s Stuff: Life is stranger than Fiction Part two

This story might be familiar to some of you already.

 

Amadeo's house

Niall’s legs felt like lead as he walked the short distance to collect his car which he had left parked at the house his sister was minding. Two days of work with only travel time between jobs left him feeling as grey as the sky overhead.

Lost in this hazy greyness he failed to notice the tiny woman until she spoke to him. “Good afternoon.” Her soft voice had an authoritative air to it which made him stop before her.

He noted her pastel pink coat, soft nude coloured shoes and pink hat thinking, she is dressed like the Queen of England. Niall noted the package she carried was square, wrapped in a crimson glossy paper and sitting on top of it a perfectly formed golden bow. He looked around him and couldn’t see how she had arrived at this old house on the top of the hill. He wondered if she was an angel.

“I’ve been invited to tea.” Her crisp words brought a smile to his face.

Niall opened the gate and she, to his surprise, walked through. He followed and they walked towards his car.

“You must work here. Are you the gardener?” She stared at him closely. “I have come to have tea with Lady Louise.”

He wondered in what parallel universe did gardeners wear nifty suits and white shirts. But she reminded him of his grandmother, whom he missed, so he made no caustic comment.

“No, I don’t work here. I left my car with my sister who is minding the house while the owner is away and I have come to collect it. I don’t think there is anyone here.” He waited for her to digest this information.

“So I am at the wrong house. I should try the other big house on the far side.” She said with a nod which sent a ripple waving across her silver hair.

He opened the passenger door intending to leave his jacket on the seat when, to his astonishment she neatly slipped into the seat.

Her blue eyes flashed at him as she said, “That is good you have your car. It won’t take a minute.”

Niall smiled while inside he groaned. He had thirty minutes to get to Dublin for his last appointment, then it would be home for food and sleep. He opened his mouth then thought better of speaking. He shut the door carefully and got into the driver’s seat.

The house in question was a mere four hundred yards away. He drove slower than normal and arrived before the large electronic entrance gate.

“It’s shut.” His passenger said. “I’ll wait.”

Lucky for all concerned the gate opened and he drove through, straight to the front door.

Then without thinking he got out, raced around to the passenger door, opened it and when she alighted Niall gave a slight nod.

With a nod in his direction she sailed sweetly past him carrying her gift.

Niall didn’t linger. Tiredness evaporated as he got back into his seat, gunned the engine and got out of there before he was snared again. “I am not up to dealing with a double dose of silver-haired trouble today.” He said with a sigh of relief as he noted his passenger had gone inside.

****************************

I was reminded of this tale last week.

It was late, I was late.  And worse the automatic gate was playing up. The reason why became apparent when I stopped outside the gate and rolled down the passenger window. A ladies voice wafted in to me “Ah good I thought I was late.”

I frowned wondering if I, yet again, had got my wires crossed. I didn’t remember volunteering to drive an elderly lady anywhere.

So I leant across the seat and peered out the window. No, I didn’t volunteer to drive a stranger anywhere, especially to a committee meeting,  which I guessed was her destination judging from the clipboard and file she carried.

She was talking at a rapid pace. I remembered NIall’s encounter and wondered should I shut my window, lock my doors but her next words caught my attention, “It is kind of you Maureen to offer me a lift.”

“I am sorry I am Maria,  not Maureen. Are you sure you have the right house?”

She looked at me blankly then grimaced. “You are not Maureen”

I overlooked the disdainful look she shot my way. I smiled and agreed.

She didn’t look happy at all. “Where is Maureen?”

“One house over,” I said , thankfully at this point the gates clanged shut and I put my foot to the accelerator and left her to toddle into the house next door.

Like mother like son, I decided.

 

 

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Maria’s Stuff: Mission Statement – Do we have one?

I have been reading a lot about blogging, and have stumbled upon a simple enough statement that makes sense on reading it – Every blog should have a mission statement. It, I am told, will help keep us on track towards our goal. This led me to ask: what is my goal? What is Bob’s goal?

I looked at Bob

Hisilicon K3

and smiled. His goals are simple; eat, sleep and be hugged.

Ellie’s are different, as everyone knows, her life revolves around tennis balls, socks, being busy and…. Bob.

ippellie large with socks in mouth

Which leaves me.  I sat at the keyboard fingers poised struggling to find the elusive mission statement.

Thoughts were flitting through my head working on a treadmill as I struggled with a mission statement.

I started blogging to get me writing, improve my photography skills and have fun. In the past ten years my children have flitted past the ages of 21, so I reasoned, I should have plenty of free time. However, time is being gulped up by many part time volunteering ventures, working part time, dog training for S & R, and all the usual wifely duties. I wonder if I am doing too much flitting and not enough focusing. Trouble is what do I cut out to make time for writing etc? They are all good causes, and worse still – I have fun attempting to do what I can.

So I will start again:  My blog is about finding fun while helping others and writing about it because at the end of the day age is simply a number it doesn’t define us neither should it limit us or stop us exploring this incredible world. Phew! It is a mouthful.

Perhaps I should try again?

Does anyone have a simple mission statement?

Besides Bob!

img_0182

 

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?

Maria’s Stuff: Trouble of a wireless kind.

Hi just a heads up to everyone, I have not forgotten to check out your blog posts.

My problem is the internet is working in fits and starts which means plenty of walks to cool down in between – which is not Bob’s favorite past time however here are a few pics of him avoiding walking quickly.

Hisilicon K3

Fog filled morning

go slow

go slow

\Falling behind

\Falling behind

heading to the woods he is behind again

heading to the woods he is behind again

Don't tell here I am here

Don’t tell her I am here

A good days work

Working means many things to many people. But in the world of dogs (as in my two) work means the following:

For Ellie, – collecting sticks while out walking

Hisilicon K3

Hisilicon K3

Bob sitting

bob

Ellie finding lost tennis balls.

ipp

Hisilicon K3

Hisilicon K3

Getting mucky while finding the smallest trace of scent hidden in the weirdest of places. Today was weird it was a pipe buried in the ground.

Bob – sitting.

marias phone 044

I think you get the idea there is a pattern here all pointing to one thing – Bob likes to sit and be sociable while Ellie loves to work.

Bob’s Diary. ..I am not a Reindeer!

After the Christmas Reindeer story, I thought I was safe for a few weeks. Life can be cruel can’t it?

I knew there was trouble brewing when Maria and Sara offered me jelly babies.

Bob 1 no ideaThey are up to something

 But I didn’t expect this…

 No sir, I got to talk to Sir Bob about this…

reindeer 3

I am not a reindeer….

reindeer 2

  I have the answer..

reeindeer 5

 I am a Superhero.

 

Bob’s Diary: I wish I were on ….Mars?

It was a sleepy warm Sunday. A perfect day for snoozing – or so I thought

sunny sleepy bob

As I dozed in the sunshine. This happened –

bob hat 1

Who put the sun out?

bob hat 2

I was caught unawares

bob hat 3

and ended up wearing these

ridiculous looking

bob hat 4

hats.

bob mars

Though I wonder if I keep the last one on will I get to go there and find

peace

peace.

ellie sleepy

Someone escaped. Ellie sat in the corner with that silly know it all look on her face. Wait till she loses that tennis ball and goes looking for another.

smart bob

I hid them..

Maria’s Stuff: Flash Fiction

Emma said, “They called him Kevin. ”

As he watched her she appeared to be struggling to speak. A trickle of water leaked from the corner of her eyes. Her small white hand covered her mouth.

He looked at her aghast. He was hopeless at coping with tears. He would rather face a great white shark than have to put his arms around his best friend and comfort her.

The air in the kitchen shimmered.The man before Emma imagined the warm air as an entity. It rushed in through the open back door shook hands with the frigid temperature in the room to kick off the cold wall before racing outside. Along the way he saw it scoop up her distress and carry it away.

If he was asked to describe his feelings he would have said they were as brown as the worn boots on his feet. He struggled to grasp the correct word to comfort. For Emma was more to him than a friend. She was a life line to reality. Without her he would gladly slip into the realm of his fantasies, his characters he wrote about, the stories others believed he struggled to create were an escape route from the nastiness of this world. A world he feared and wanted no part of, without her.
A nudge from Emma made him look at her. Her blonde hair glistened in the pale sunlight, her body shook with tremors. Then he looked at her eyes and smiled. “Go on let me in on the joke. Who did they call Kevin?”
His large hand gently removed her smaller hand from her mouth and the laughter poured from her like water bubbling in a pot, in fits and bits. He sat and waited. He was used to waiting.

When she recovered she said, “The children called the new pet pig Kevin. Because they love the stories you tell them. What do you think of that, my Kevin?”
He pretended to be disgusted then winked at her and said, “Fitting.”
Their laughter bounced and floated through the house. As it moved it warmed every centimeter of the old stone building.