True or False?

On our travels we have learnt to treasure those unexpected moments that could be seen as potentially disastrous or something else. We always choose something else.


Our trip was a much planned guided walking trip of the islands. We began in Dubrovnik

On Sunday 24th September we were to walk to the museum situated at the Imperial fort on Srđ mountain. An arduous climb to the top but we were assured the views would make it worthwhile. All went well until we were a mere 60 meters away from the top of the mountain. The rain arrived in lorry loads, drowning those of us who wore rain jackets. We sought refuge in the museum and then the restaurant at the top of the mountain.

I was a little relieved to hear, “the van is coming to get us and we can continue in the old town.”

“Great” everyone of us eight minions replied.

However, when we were dropped close to the entrance of the old town, the rain didn’t lessen ……it intensified.

We ran from the van to the nearest largest shop… an ice cream shop. The owner was calling people in from the rain and then apologised that he would have to close the concertina glass doors. So here we stood, five deep, eating ice cream watching the rising rainwater creep towards the door of our shelter. Some, led by Pirrka, danced happily to the music provided.

I had my back to an inner kitchen door. The owner brushed past me apologising, again, for the rain, and then hastily pushed one employee who was dressed from head to toe in professional rain wear outside. Next came a large panel of timber. To much cheering the poor young guy stood before the entrance holding the timber at an angle to divert the racing river from the doorway. IMG_7849

With a toss of his head and a sigh, the owner vanished into the back room again. There was  the sound of a loud discussion followed by the entrance of another young and very fit looking employee (as noted by every woman) carrying yet another board. However, this guy was dressed in jocks, teeshirt and socks!

After the initial shock the watching crowd of minions cheered as one as he bravely  pushed his way out into the now seven inch high river of water walking out of sight away from the shop, carrying his board. All the while his fellow employee stood outside diverting the tide from the door.

One ice cream later and the door opened. Scantily dressed employee re entered grabbed another board and vanished. On his third journey outside, a debate broke out amongst the watchers.

“Where the heck is he going? And what is happening to the boards?”

This one thought echoed around the spectators. A lone Irish voice beside me declared,

“There can only be one sane answer. He is running a surfing school and the eejits he is teaching are coming off the boards so he has to keep restocking the equipment!”

I mean what other explanation could there be? Thoughts as usual will be welcomed and answered.



Maria’s Stuff: Sample Chapter of The Runaway Schoolhouse

runaway_schoolhouse_cover_Latest_151031As promised here is a sample chapter of the book aimed at children of 7 years plus.


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 fast?” Sara asked John.

“I have something to do,” he replied, with the beginning 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.

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. 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 blackboard 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 blackboard.

“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 whole 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 blackboard 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?”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. 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…

Copies of the book can be purchased via

This company also offers a unique book rental along with the usual, Kindle/e-reader and printed copies to buy.

I am truthfully hoping I can get some reviews as feed back is how we can develop and change as writers.

Thank you all and have a great Christmas.



Puddling about – an update from the canine pool

We did return for another session to the hydrotherapy pool and much to our surprise, Ellie wanted to go into the pool.

This time we had a surprise in store for her – a surf board.

Unfortunately we had so much fun we didn’t get to take photos, this time. We reckon it is an achievement to get a collie pushing off a board into the pool, but then again there were balls involved and we all know her love for tennis balls.ippipp

Bob’s Dream: A tale for children big and small.

Zodiac Cottage.

Ten year old Jamie was spending the day with his aunts at Zodiac cottage. He knew it was not an ordinary house or they ordinary aunts.

His mum dropped him to their house reminding him to be good. Jamie smiled. He shouted out, “Myra, Mina, Mo, it’s me.” He walked into the kitchen and stopped.

The three women, still dressed in their pajamas, were having breakfast. Their chairs hovered a foot off the ground and the table spun slowly around.  The kitchen was one enormous mess, with dishes stacked on the floor and table.

“We are having, Brunch-inner, a mixture of  Breakfast, Lunch and dinner.” They said, together.

“Ooh, careful,” Mo said as a spoon flew through the air.

Jamie ducked. A lump of porridge flew over his head landing on the wall with a loud splat. Jamie bent low to pet Sonic, their cat. When he  looked at Mo he discovered  everything had changed. Myra, Mina and Mo were neatly dressed and sitting at a very organized table.

“How do you do?” sang Mina very correctly.

“Welcome,” said Myra.

“Hello” said Mo quietly, “Would you like tea?”

Jamie smiled, “Yes please.” He sat beside them. Sonic jumped up onto Jamie’s lap and began to purr.

“It’s been an unusual day Jamie,” said a grumpy looking Mina.

“Really?” asked Jamie.

Mina scrunched her eyes up and looked at Jamie.  “Nasty leprechauns were here earlier. Did you see them?”

“No I only saw the gnomes in the garden who are fishing for strawberries.” said Jamie truthfully. Then he turned his attention to the plate of chocolate biscuits before him.

When brunch-inner was finished Jamie offered to wash the dishes.

Mo stared at him. “Are you mad? The dishes will wash themselves thank you.”

Mo snapped her fingers. The cutlery slid in a neat line off the table and landed on the counter top. The plates and mugs followed. Then they dishes did indeed wash themselves.  Jamie enjoyed watching because some huge bubbles were made by the washing up brush which spun about in the sink. With the dishes finished and the bubbles gone Jamie went in search of something to do.

He met Myra.  “Is Sonic with you?” she asked.

Jamie said, “No. He was here a while ago.

Myra said, “I think the nasty smelly leprechauns cat napped him.”

Jamie laughed. He couldn’t help it.  A cat being catnapped, really, he thought.

Myra stamped her foot in anger. The flowers spun about, petals flying in all directions. With a twitch of her hand the spinning stopped and the petals hopped back in place but back in the wrong place. They looked like a baby had drawn them.

Jamie said, “Finding Sonic should be easy peasy for a wiz witch like you.”

“Would be if I could calm down and remember the spell. Cats keep us calm and happy but now I am neither.”

Jamie smiled. “I understand a calm witch is a wiz but a flustered witch is a dizzy witch.”

“Exactly.” She smiled. “You are a smart boy. Are you sure you are not a wizard?”

“Sadly no, I am not.” Jamie said.

“I have discovered in this life it doesn’t matter if you are or aren’t. What you need is a magnifying glass. ”

Myra flicked her baseball cap upwards and took out a large magnifying glass. She handed it to Jamie. “For you to look for clues,” she said.

“Thanks,” said Jamie.

Myra lifted her cap again. This time she took out a heavy-looking book. Jamie read the title “How to survive an encounter with a leprechaun.” She sat on the garden fence.

Jamie searched everywhere for clues.  “It’s no good” he said, “the grounds too dry.

“It says here leprechauns are stinking creatures who snivel and moan a lot.”

Jamie decided he would rather not meet one. He went to find Mina and Mo. Mina said, “We are going to the fair later. Would you like to come with us?”

They walked to the village. A poster at the entrance to the fair caught Jamie’s attention,

Dog Show    –  2 pm.

Cat Show    –  3 pm.

“I bet that is where Sonic went.” Mina muttered. “He loves competitions.”

There were a lot of tents selling jam, cakes and knitted items.  Jamie hated shopping. He said he would go and look for Sonic.

Jamie saw a group of dogs and people in a corner of the field near a sign that said, Dog Agility Competition.  He moved closer and noticed how alike the dogs and owners were. A loud purring noise got his attention. He was delighted to see Sonic sitting beside him.

A tough looking man with a fierce dog stared at them. Jamie politely smiled back. A low menacing growl came from the dog who was facing Sonic.

Perhaps I should pick him up thought Jamie. But before he could do anything, Sonic faced the snarling dog.

Sonic fixed him with a cool stare and said,  “WOOF!”

The dog before them turned and ran, pulling his thick chunky owner after him. To Jamie’s surprise Sonic walked into the ring. A tall lady wearing a huge hat shouted “who owns this cat? Remove it.”

Jamie followed Sonic who  neatly jumped over three small jumps, climbed an A frame, walked along a high plank, jumped through a hoop and walked into a tunnel. When Sonic reappeared at the other end of the tunnel there was a round of applause from everyone watching.

The woman scowled. “He is a cat, this is a competition for dogs.”

Jamie saw a large spider creeping along his arm. The spider was rainbow colored and wore  a baseball hat. The spider jumped onto his head. He heard Myra say, “Take it easy, it is me. I’m not so good at coping with spinning a web and a jiggling head. That lady is awfully rude.”

As soon as she said it the strangest thing happened. The lady’s mouth was moving but no one could hear a word she said. Then to their amazement she walked forwards and collected a large silver cup from a table. She handed the cup and a large red ribbon to Jamie. Her face was a fiery red colour and her mouth moved a lot but nothing could be heard.

“Why thank you.” Jamie said and left with Sonic at his side and Myra spinning a giant colored web in his hair.

They celebrated that evening by having a chocolate only picnic in the trees at the cottage, Sonic was the guest of honor.


Bob’s Diary: Tips on training your owner.

I thought some tips would come in handy for every animal on how to help train your owner.


Perfect the – I am listening look – it will win you loads of hugs and praise









If your owner wants to play ball  – let him. There will always be more balls around or another dog to find them.

ellie playing 4


bob with pups












It is important you set some boundaries, and always teach them by example.

Exhausted after receiving award



circle the wagons















Bob’s Diary. Why cats?

I don’t understand why people are so taken with cats.


They don’t chase balls or fetch stuff. They just lie around and moan a lot. I’ve tried explaining we don’t need them as I catch the mice in this house, two so far this month and winter is not even here yet.

Maybe someone can explain the fascination to me but here is a sketch Maria did a while back of one breaking his way into the house.


A strange visitor

It was Friday and Maria kept hopping in and out of the house. She was leaving the oddest collection of stuff around but none of it edible so I wasn’t too interested in perfume and vouchers. Seemingly it was prizes for a raffle -whatever that is.

But one caught our eye.


I stayed out-of-the-way.


Ellie was brave though I don’t think she liked it.


She didn’t give up. Ellie spent a long time trying to persuade the doll to move.  I knew better dinner called for my attention.











Bob’s Diary: I thought the coast was clear.

It was Tuesday Maria was setting up to start blogging after we had a glorious walk when her phone went ping. She grabbed her coat, kicked me and Ellie outside.

When she arrived back we were not greeted as normal. I got curious.

bob 2 tuesday

bob 1 tuesdayThey were back!


robyn playing
This is just ridiculous.





they are back




maddie prowlingSomething has to give and it won’t be me.

bob and robyn

Bob’s Diary : Alert Sara has gone over to the other side.

We went to visit Sara

Amadeo's house

And found a mystery


Ellie was doing laps of the house

bob searching

Sara wasn’t there but we smelt a very strange smell


bob outside looking in

But Yea…..I found it


come and look at this

I called Ellie  because I couldn’t believe it

ellie looking at

neither could she. Check these out for yourselves….

bob and puddy

And we couldn’t believe it.  Our Sara has gone to the other side….

Ellie and puddy

two pudd's

Kitten worse TWO KITTENS.


front door bob


I will have to stay here and wait to talk to her. We need to sort this out.