Cleaning house

I started cleaning a press and discovered a box of sketches I had put away.  I have always wanted to paint and some day I will but for now it is only odd bits I sketch and pretend to be an artist. I keep saying when I grow up (?) I will paint and draw.

Bob on a skateboard !

 

A box full of paper made me want to draw and doodle again. Have you ever had a nostalgic moment like this?

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A photo to make you smile and some words to make us all think.

Hisilicon K3

Irish dog trainer

We are only human.

I was brought up to help, in the house, in the yard, wherever help was needed we all got stuck in and did the work. So I suppose volunteering was a natural thing in our house. We were encouraged to help on committee’s once we had reached the magic number of years , eighteen.

I tell you this not to boast or brag but it as a simple matter of fact. However I have lately discovered that helping is not often enough. For many judge you on what they see, or a stupid spur of the minute comment or worse on a mistake, a wrong judgement call. If I had the power to influence a whole mess of people I think it would to be simply to remind them that we are all human. And as humans we are bound to fail, to disappoint or act rashly every once in a while.

However, as I have no super power I can only keep trying and that is another human trait, to be stubborn to never give up.

How about you has there been a time in your life that you wish you could wind the clock back, bite back those words, smile instead of moan? And what super power would you wish for?

reindeer 6

Bob in Super-Bob mode.

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

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.

Maria’s Stuff: Weddings: Ireland: Today and Yesterday

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A thought about Weddings.

 

I have two weddings to attend in the next six months. 

This got me thinking about the change in attitude to the event since I was married thirty years ago.

Back then, the wedding was a means to an end. By that I mean most of us didn’t live together until after we were married. 

Today the trend as we know is different. The thing is the planning often takes years. This means a lot more stress over a longer period of time, or am I wrong in saying that?

The more time you have to think and plan the longer the brides list of must do’s and must haves gets. So it mushrooms into a Super Event. This is happening right now. Brides have to have, (I am told) bridal dance to create, learn and plan, the Hen night (a weekend or a week long affair), The Stag night (similar to the Hen night ), the day after the wedding party,  the speeches (often includes a video or photography link) and so on it grows.

One bride to be confessed she is afraid she will be on a downer after the event. My mouth dropped open and was nudged shut by my hubby. Words, for once, were not processed in my brain to reply to her.

For me the wedding is the start of the event: your life together.

I  will end on this note we planned our wedding in six weeks. 

It is true. Please don’t keel over.

We had church, flowers, hotel, and party with live band and oodles of photos. The six weeks came about when we became aware that to get our house loan we had to have a marriage certificate. We needed to give them a wedding date. We asked how long it would take to get the paperwork for the house completed we were told six weeks hence the six week date.  It was a small family wedding with a party afterwards and I loved every minute of it as did my husband and those who attended (or so they say).

 I will add weddings like life, can be as complicated or simple as we make them. But above all they should be enjoyable.

 

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

We went to visit Sara

Amadeo's house

And found a mystery

looking

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.

Ugh!

front door bob

 

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

 

A Muddled Tale

An interlude in which Always-Right-Knight has his say.

 

I love the witch. I cannot explain it.  For a witch she is sassy, sexy and all woman.

Despite my golden-haired, blue-eyed appearance, I do lack confidence with women in particular diva witches. And this poses a problem in my pursuit of the Scrumptious witch.

I have spent days writing the perfect Sonnet. Then I climbed to the top of Hill top peak to pick the bluest flower I could find. Finally I snagged some purple label freshly brewed beer, the one that sparkles and crackles.

Armed with my gifts I trudged about the town searching for her. I was tired, not thinking of anything but her when I happened upon her.  I am human and the sight of a near naked witch with a body worth dying for was too much for me. I jumped in and then zap I found myself in a dark place of dreams and nightmares.

When I awoke it was to discover the world had moved on, my diva was no more and I was in an alien place. Giant man-made dragons and machines roared across the sky and land. The place stank like no other. The houses were like palaces. Towers of glass and teeming hordes of people fill this place.

Strange to say, I love it. Better still they love me.

 

Maria’s – A Muddled Fairy Tale – Part 2.

Scrumptious Witch.  My side of the tale.

When those three moaning, tiresome knights, kept knocking on my door asking for favors I could not give, I became a little sick and tired of them.

After all when a  pretty, blonde and intelligent witch is trying to snag a Prince Charming having three dolts hanging around her hut is not exactly saying “come and get me” to every available prince, is it?

They were following me or so it seemed. Everywhere I looked there they were. Even when I nipped out late one evening to find come beetle juice there they were: one hopping on his armor the other moaning about being beaten and the third stemming the flow of blood from another self-inflicted injury during a jousting match.

I pretended to brush my hair while sitting not to far away and listened to them. It was apparent they were useless. They would always be moaning and groaning. Something drastic had to be done.  If I was to push them onto another witch I would need help or a really sneaky spell.

I decided if I solved their problems, I would be rid of them but that might make me famous. And then I would have every ruddy knight on the planet camped outside my door.

If the path to a hut containing treasure (me) is blocked by a mountain of knights it would not be enticing to a handsome Prince.

My solution was simple. It happened in a moment of  blinding revelation. I needed to stash them somewhere safe. And in return for their removal I would give them each a gift.

This last bit took some time. Gifts are not something to be bandied about, and this is what I came up with:

Lazy whose armor was always the grottiest would be transformed into an ultra clean cleaner, seeing dirt where no one else could.

Grouchy’s temper would vanish. His anti social side would morph into a person who loves to entertain.

Sleazy lack of interest in everything would turn around. He would become a person needing an answer.

So the spell was cast. I took my time and put them in a deep sleep, they would only be awakened when the world was in need of knights big and small once again.

Unfortunately for me while I was doing the spell that big-headed oaf, Always-Right-Knight stumbled upon me in full moon light dance and chant mode. He wished to join me so he too joined their party. But I was cautious.  I removed him a distance from the others and decided not to meddle with an already arrogant overbearing idiot.

In my defense we were in need of three good solid supports for the bridge and guess who found them?

Yes. Me.

Hopefully the future world will be an amazing place where knights will be true honest and happy.

Bob’s Diary: Tips on how to be a better dog (Top Dog).

1, Always be polite, (Don’t snarl.)

bob2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Smile often , they love that.

 

bob normal

 

 

3.  Practice the how to gain sympathy look.

IMG_6247

 

 

 

 

It will Pay off.

jellybaby3

Moving On – Sample – First Chapter.

E-Book Cover

 

 

 

 

 

1. The Race

 

 

 

“Hike on,” Ally shouted, leaning forward against the blast of wind as her team of four Irish sled dogs bounced into top speed pulling her around the steep bend.  Their waving tails declared, to those watching the race, their love for doing this work.

She wondered if they would run well across snow. It would make a welcome change from sludge and muck. Running on snow was a dream. Ally wondered about it for a second while noting the amount of muck on the track. In comparison the countryside around her looked green and beautiful but Ally hadn’t time for artistic appreciation. She was here to win.

Shouts of encouragement mingled with the barking of chasing teams reminded her every competitor wanted to win. Once more she asked her team to accelerate. With their thick double coats gleaming in weak Irish sunlight, they obeyed her shout.

“We are all in this together. I won’t let you down,” she promised.

Despite cold air and dirt being kicked up in her face Ally smiled. Luna was lead dog today. Excited noisy barking behind alerted them, another team was getting closer. Luna turned her head to peep back, her dark eyes gleaming. She didn’t need encouragement from Ally to pull harder.

The last hill loomed ahead, a mere pimple in the distance. The wheels of her rig slid all over the track, Ally knew what to do. She jumped off and ran hard, pushing the rig with all her strength.  The thin wheels of the rig bounced about making it difficult to keep a grip on the bar. It was tough to keep up with the dogs. Far behind she could hear a male voice roaring abuse at his dogs. She flinched, recognising the voice but also remembering how John, her ex husband loved to shout. Ally treated her dogs like most things in her life, with gentleness and persuasion.

“Focus Ally.” she whispered knowing this was not the time to dwell on anything but what she had to do.

It was tough not to think of a portion of her past while she was racing. Sam, her father, had introduced her to this sport when she was a feisty teenager. Moving home, because of his illness, was the best decision of her life. She owed everything to Sam. In contrast, she owed John, nothing. Sam’s death had left her feeling isolated and alone.

The biting wind caused her to shiver and pulled her back to the present. Chewing on her bottom lip, she lifted her head. ‘We need to get up and over this damn hill if we are to win.’  With a roar of encouragement she pushed even harder. Like her dogs, she was prepared to put every last ounce of energy into the race.  Once they gave their best, Ally was happy. Hands firmly on the bar before her, she pushed as though her life depended on it. Her feet slid about on the wet heavy ground, making her feel as though she were carrying two buckets of sludge. Her breath came in gasps leaving her ribs aching as she continued to push.

She reached the top, took a deep breath to help prepare her for the treacherous down slope. Jumping back on, she applied light pressure to the brake with her right foot. Ally encouraged them to hold back. “Slow up, Luna,” she shouted.

Droplets of water splashed her as she brushed against coniferous branches lining the steep path. She ignored the wet patch spreading between her shoulder blades. Ally focused on the track ahead, aware of the mix of human voice and dogs barking behind them as they edged closer to her team. She wondered who was catching them. She smiled, ‘doesn’t matter, we will win.’

Arriving at the bottom of the hill in one piece, she had time to notice grey clouds lifting marginally, the sun attempting once again to shine. Her spirits soared until she glanced behind her.

It was Steve, a rival, who didn’t like being beaten especially by a woman. Behind him she saw a sparkling new rig with a shiny new competitor on board. Though his dogs were big and gaining on her, Ally hoped her experience would gain her the upper hand.

The track was level. The outside of it was hard while the inside track, looked to be in a similar state, but was wet and boggy. Ally knew what to do.  In a minute she would discover if Steve knew the course.

He closed up on her. As his dogs came alongside hers, Ally pulled further right. She was as far to the outside as she could get.

He saw her move and grinned taking the inside track. His grin became a smug leer.

Ally acknowledged his mistake with a small smile of her own. She had just beaten him by her knowledge of the track. Steve didn’t know it yet. He believed she was pulling back, letting the stronger team pull ahead.

She grinned and chuckled. ‘If you think I quit that easily you are a mug Steve. You have a lot to learn.’

His mistake surprised her. She knew he was rough with his dogs, now she added arrogant to the list. Her guess was he had not bothered to walk the track as she had earlier. ‘Well, sometimes the best way to learn is the hard way.’ It was harsh but it was the truth. It reminded her of how awful she had been at making life-changing decisions.

To her surprise the new team were close behind them. They, too, attempted to pull to the inside.   As he drew level with her team, he shouted above the wind and howling dogs. “Thank you, honey. We appreciate being let through.” His deep husky voice carried easily in the wind. She ignored the comment. His sunglasses, she noted were as trendy as his flash clothes.

‘I’m not your honey,’ she thought.  Ally bent her head, rounded her shoulders and dug deep as she encouraged her dogs to give chase.

“Hike on Luna. Hike on.” Luna responded swiftly, as did her team. Ally smiled, thinking to herself, ‘you may be small but you sure can sprint! And he is about to find out how fast we can go.’

In comparison her companion’s dogs were sinking in the soft mud hidden on the inside of the track. It slowed them sufficiently. Ally recognized that the newcomer’s team were fighting each other rather than working together.  Luna sped by her eyes focused on the prize ahead.

Steve’s dogs were tired and sliding on the downhill run. He urged them on with a crack of a whip. Then, as she drew level with him, there was another strong crack followed by a moment of stabbing pain. The whip hit Ally’s right hand.  Tears flowed but she kept her hand stuck to the bar.  The roar of protest from the man behind her drifted away in the wind as Ally continued on.

She raced by Steve hoping he wouldn’t take her victory out on his dogs later. Luna stretched out her thin frame as did the others and both men’s teams were left floundering in the soft sticky ground.

Ally passed the finishing line thinking, ‘we did it, Dad. I hope you were watching.’

She wondered what her other competitors would think about her win. They had been quick to dismiss her chances earlier. At the starting line two of them had looked scathingly at her team of two Siberian Huskies and two crossbred dogs.

A particular comment had hit her squarely between the shoulders. “Aren’t your dogs a bit small, love? Maybe you should go home and leave this to the professionals.”

Ally had ignored them. Eyes fixed ahead of her she focused on listening for the starting horn.

It hadn’t helped her popularity when she crossed the finish line in second place in her last race. The prizes today were vouchers for dog supply shops. Keeping four racing dogs and one chunky one didn’t come cheap. In Ally’s world, every cent counted.

She smiled. It would be interesting to hear what those competitors who dismissed her earlier would say about her now.

 

Moving On is available through Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.