The Christmas Fairy Troop Go Dark

 Constance Claus stepped outside the workshop and frowned. The courtyard was full of elves walking about examining the ground, with magnifying glasses! In the centre of the huge space, Enda was begging Bob (The Norwegian Elkhound)) to behave like a dog and sniff out the problem. Bob sat and stared at Enda who was jumping up and down. The effort caused steam to pour from his ears and nose.

Constance hurried over to Enda. “What is going on? Is it a new game?”

“No. No game. We have a mystery. Someone left a weird order at the workshop door.” He pushed up his sleeves and sat on the ground beside their favourite and only dog.

“And the order is for?”

“Fifteen million black steel-capped boots in size 001, and black studded jackets. The note said further items to follow.” He shook his head, “Black sized 001 boots!”

“Oh.” Was all Constance could manage.

“Exactly, you and I know that the only ones in the world who wear that size is..” He bit his lip and shook his head in disbelief. “The Christmas Fairy Troop. Santa is not happy.”

“Why didn’t you tell me this earlier? I will talk to Belle.” Constance declared and pulled herself so tall she almost looked svelte like.

Enda watched her walk away, “Good luck Mrs C. I have a feeling you will need it.”

Constance didn’t relish facing an army of fairies so she invited their chief, Belle to come and have tea with Santa. This she knew would take a lot of cajoling. Santa hated having to sit and eat dainty sandwishes and cupcakes. But when she explained the problem he agreed,

They sat waiting for Belle. On top of Santa and Constance’s table, sat a tiny table decked out in pink and white cloth, with a matching rose-patterned tea set and tiny fairy sized portions of fairies favourite foods. The clock ticked in the background. Time dragged on and just when they decided she was a no show, with a puff of purple smoke Belle arrived.

Constance gasped, Santa shouted, “What happened Belle? Were you run over by a herd of wild reindeer?”

The reply was not delivered sweetly. “No. And please call me Buffy.”

“No! Why? What did you do wrong?” Santa asked and removed his glasses to wipe them clean. There was nothing sweet and delightful about the fairy who stood before them. She looked like a badass in a gangster film. Her sparkling joyful look was gone. Her dress was black lace with red and purple sparkles glaring from it, her black jacket was studded with red studs and her boots were jet black, even her wand, which peeked from a pocket was black.

“I did nothing wrong. That present you gave us last year was great, enlightening. We watched some amazing tv and learnt that we should update our look.”

Unfortunately, Enda appeared with a pot of tea and another tray of gingerbread. He looked at the three people before him and the tray crashed to the ground. “Oh no, you don’t twinkle Belle, who did this who turned you into a monster?”

“Hi Enda do you like my makeover? It is modern isn’t it?”

No, We can’t have a chief fairy who looks like a ..monster.”He shuddered, “what will happen to the Christmas trees all over the world?” He blinked at them.  “They will go on fire “Enda wailed.

Constance and Santa groaned. “Do something Constance, this is beyond me, what happened to sweetness and light Belle… sorry Buffy?”

“It is so last century. We need to get more modern, put a little spark of unpredictability into peoples lives, don’t you agree? Oh I forgot something be back in a jiffy.”“With that, she vanished.

Constance noted her husband’s white face and gasp of horror as the full reality hit him. Enda was marching around the room proclaiming doom for all who adored Christmas.

Santa turned to Constance, “all is lost if the fairies do this. Christmas is about sweetness, light, hope and most of all happiness that comes from the act of giving. We can’t have angry fairies.” He shook his head and stared at his stomach, as it was many years since he could see his feet from this position. “Next they will want weapons instead of wands, it would be the end of Christmas and all on my watch, oh my.”

“My thoughts exactly Santa, exploding snowflakes, fire eating teddy bears, no more ballerina slippers just hard nasty boots, candy canes without any free wishes. Oh dear, oh dear” Enda plopped to the floor and sat.

Constance sighed. “I’ll deal with her, you two scoot and don’t come back till I call for you.” She hoped she had enough tact and patience to deal with this unforeseen disaster.

Belle appeared in a puff of purple and black smoke. She was carrying a rolled sheet of paper. She thrust it at Constance and sat on the edge of a teacup. “You understand don’t you Mrs Claus? It’s not much really. The first change …ever.”

Constance began to read. When she finished, she put it on the table and turned to Belle. “So, you are tired of your appearance and wish to update the fairy look?” At Belle’s nod of agreement. Constance sat drumming her fingers on the tabletop.She didn’t want to refuse but she needed to change their minds, just a little change might work.

“Come with me and we will see what we can do.” She tried not to smile as she noticed Belle’s surprise, no doubt she expected a fight not a weary acceptance. Let her think she has won the fight, Constance thought. She led the way to her own workroom. When they entered she heard a “wow” escape Belle’s lips.

“This is pretty,”Belle said as she fingered a softly draped fabric that had a slight wash of peach in it. Would it suit me?”

“Possibly but it is not the black and purple you say you need.” Noticing Belle’s wistful glance about the room she added, “ If you like I could redesign a whole outfit for your team in different styles and different colours, shoes to match. We could vary from the usual style and add some leggings underneath the filmy light dress and make some very trendy looking trainers. What do you think?” Constance noted the dreamy look on Belle’s face , Constance, you are about to lose a truckful of sleep. As it turned out Constance was correct, Belle threw herself into the task with abandon, picking colours that would raise a smile instead of a groan from Santa.

If Santa and Enda thought it strange that the dining room now boasted a endless line of fairies who came for a day and then left, they said nothing. Though Enda did wonder, “They are laughing, a lot, that has to be good. I hope?”

Everyone was on edge. Especially when they heard that the fairies were fighting amongst themselves. Sam and Noel, hadn’t sang a tune for days. They didn’t want to be noticed, just in case any angry fairy magic was thrown their way. Bob too was not his normal self, proof was the dishful of jelly babies that sat inside his kennel. 

Constance remained calm. She was tired. She and the sewing department had spent many nights without sleep. The sewing elves fingers were aching. They were starting to complain about the amount of sparkling studs they had to fix to trainers. Constance kept everyone’s spirits high by providing extra marshmallows in their hot chocolate drinks.

Finally they were finished.  The fairies decided to say thank you in their own way. They said farewell to Constance and thanked her.  A few minutes after their departure, Slim raced to find Santa and Constance. “You’ve got to come and see this. We think it is those aliens Noel is always talking about.”

Alarmed they ran outside and looked before them. Just beyond Santa’s village there appeared to be a rainbow sitting close to the ground. It shimmered and glowed, as it edged closer. Sam was shaking.

Enda roared, “Behind Santa, now everyone.”

“Why me?” Santa asked and stared at the rainbow then chuckled. “Wow” Leaning closer to Constance he said, “Well done Mrs C. You have indeed saved the day and it is the most important day, again.!

It was becoming apparent to everyone that the image before them was the fairy troop. They were dressed in shimmering soft colours and as they danced and sang large baskets of strawberry, blueberry and cranberry ice cream landed in the middle of the workshop. The elves smiled and relaxed, we love it when you rescue Christmas Mrs C.”

Noel agreed with a smile, “much better than the year Santa tried to alter the climate.” Everyone nodded in agreement. Santa glared at them.

“Why are we hiding behind Santa?” Noel asked.

“Because, he is the biggest thing we have here in the North Pole” Enda answered.

“Hoi, less of the big, please, you could put best in place of big.” Santa shouted as he made his way to the kitchen to see if he and Bob could have a midnight snack.He heard Constance was trying for the largest cookie record. .

Everyone watched him walk away and together they sang. “No, no, no.”

Santa is a little worried that we might forget all about him because of the pandemic.

Lessons Learnt

In our inconsistent world, some of the most powerful lessons we learn come from children and (in my case) our dogs. This is only my opinion before I get a truckload of replies all denying this is the case.

There is a tv program that tracks young four and five-year-olds at play. I love watching it as I am reminded or there resilience and love of basically having fun. They also say what they think, which is also a mind opener. If we say what we honestly think the only thing we often open is a can of worms!

I have had many dogs come and go in my life and they all taught me something different, some times about myself. The poodles my mum had basically taught me:

you cannot make someone do something just because you wish it to happen. Poodle number one often was dragged by me out on a walk and I inevitably arrived home carrying him!

Poodle number two taught me that simply giving someone time and sitting with them, listening or holding their hand is often all that is required.

Poodle number three; fun is important.

However, I was reminded of all of these things when Bob arrived into our lives. He was a great people dog. He loved to sit at the gate and wait for the children to pass by on the way home from school. This feat alone gained him many jelly babies, some crisps and a few extra inches around his middle, and a long list of admirers.  While he did this, Ellie and her collection of tennis balls would appear and she would push the balls through the gate while the children chucked them back.

He was patient, sitting calmly staring at me at 6pm each evening to remind me it was time for his food and meds.

He gave comfort to both Ellie and me whenever we returned from a long search cold and tired, with a wag of his tail and a lick across my hand and on her ear, he appeared to say, tomorrow is another day. 

It has become evident that Ellie continues to miss him but that too is another learning curve – dogs emotions run deep.

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From Ellie I have learnt a different set of lessons, never give up, don’t say can’t without trying. We have done some crazy things like swimming the river Boyne, or on one occasion climbed a great height (in torrential rain)to get around fallen trees and blocked pathway to find a missing person. Taking shelter from a snowstorm in a forest and then hitching a lift back to base in a tractor.

I would love to know what others have learnt from their canine buddies and what adventures they have taken with them.

 

Update on Bob

Mr Bob is becoming a grumpy demanding old dog! No other way to put it, I am afraid to say he is relishing the role. If there were a doggy version of Father Ted, he would be Father Jack! He doesn’t call for whiskey though he did lick some off my fingers with great enthusiasm which would indicate that if a bowl or glass were offered it would not be refused.Bob still makes everyone smile, as he plods about the house, walking under the visiting Brooke (Greyhound of a very leggy variety) as though she were not there. His meds have increased a little and on each occasion, I call to the vets to get a new batch, they express their surprise and delight that he is still king of the castle. I have attached a few photos of the grumpy, sometimes smiling old dog. Please note I did try bribery to get him to look at the camera, but…

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I am not looking at the camera

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I refuse to say cheese

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Who wrote this book?

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How old we become…

Isn’t it odd how old we become on the outside while inside we still feel like a twenty-year-old? That is my one observation having spent some days visiting with my dad.

His dementia has progressed at a frightening rate. So much so, that we had no choice but to bring him back to the nursing home where he feels happy. For me, it was a tough decision in one way, because I remember his reluctance to consider going in for respite eighteen months ago and his refusal to move mum to a local nursing home. However, I was happy knowing that, he is safer with many carers around him than just one of us with him twenty-four seven.

It is now two weeks since he moved house, and the weight has lifted from my shoulders, years and layers of stress are falling away and I have gained a little weight. Dad too is experiencing a lightening of years as he takes part in musical afternoons, dancing with anyone who is willing to risk getting their feet shuffled on, or squashed. His bright cheery “Hello,” gains him smiles and conversation. He is taking part in art classes, and on Wednesday of this week, he was a baker hoping to enjoy tea and queen cakes which he had helped to whip up and bake.

Just like Bob he is managing to hold on to his good humour and winning ways.

Trouble with Elves

“It is really fortunate that my hair is as white as snow because this would turn anyone’s hair white. What made you do such a silly thing?” Connie stood hands on her ample but curvy hips surveying the mess before her. The barn smelt beautiful except for the odd farting and belching coming from the reindeer. The two elves tried to look sorry but mischief popped from every pore of their bodies, the munching reindeer looked very happy.

Connie knew she should punish them but how? After all, they supposed they were doing a good thing, how were they to know she had not baked all 356 cakes, yet.

Sam and Noel had decided to add a little festive cheer to the reindeer’s breakfast. They had achieved it by borrowing Connie’s large tub of treacle, another of golden syrup, some festive cranberries and cherries (because Sam loved them), and created a Christmas cake for the reindeer. Sam scuffed his toe off the ground releasing a beautiful scent of mixed spice,” Sorry Connie, we just well… we thought they should have something Christmassy, “

“Hmm right. Let’s start your punishment off with a little cleaning up, then you can wash the reindeer and then…” As she set out the full weight of her punishment, the elves lost all sign of twinkling and festive cheer. 

“That stuff is for girls and we are not girls!” She heard Sam moan as she left them to try and create a little Christmas miracle herself by making 56 Christmas cakes out of thin cold air.

Connie busy baking did not notice a lack of noise each evening but Santa did. “Okay, Connie, spill. Have you locked the elves up or sent them off to watch all of the Santa movies? Why is it peaceful?”

Connie decided to investigate. Together they searched the many elf houses and all of the workshops. Nothing, not an elf in sight. “If they have been elf napped, Christmas is in trouble. It may have to be cancelled.” To console himself, Santa tested another Christmas Cake.

However, next morining all the elves were present in the workshop and again that evening it was too quiet. It was the click clack noise that gave the game away. Santa looked at Connie, “should I be worried?”

She smiled. “Only if you are a reindeer.”

This is what they saw..

Mind you, Rudolph did look happy in his Christmas jumper.

Sunny Days and Sandcastles

It was hot. We were hot and sticky so a trip to the beach was suggested and agreed upon.

Unfortunately, we were not alone. There was standing room only at the nearest beach to us and half of the county.   However, we did get to see some amazing Sand sculptures.  Let’s hear what you think of these,

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What if?

These are the questions being asked by those about me, and the answers are mixed. Some from Bob and some from me. I bet you can guess who answered what..

What if the sun burns itself out?

His next in command, the moon, will take over and our lives will be mellower.

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What if it doesn’t rain before September?

Irish people will become even more disgruntled and focused on the weather? Nothing new there. Their 4 legged tail wagging friends will wallow in the shade and be content with early morning walks in the woods.

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What if Breeze the ogre moves out of the wood in search of water?

More cupcakes for little old me!

 

 

 

Weather and Dogs.

We are never happy. We, meaning Irish people, moan and groan about the weather constantly. It is always a hot topic. None more so than today, after suffering through, snow, ice and the country coming to a stop in March we are now meeting the blissful sight of sunshine, every morning.

But with temperatures tipping 32 degrees we are simply melting in the heat. Icecream sales have rocketed. Not so good is the fate of farmers who struggle with water shortages for their animals. A peat bog some distance from us has been burning for the past two days, an unheard of event.

Some of us who invested in rainwater harvesting tanks and systems are trying hard not to be smug about the large tanks of rainwater we have at our disposal.

But the question is, why isn’t everyone thinking of collecting what falls from the sky in abundance during most of the year.

Bob is the only one who snores on blissfully ignorant of all the dilemmas and debates going on around him. He continues to trundle about the house and garden, nabbing the few strawberries and raspberries that dare to ripen within his reach.  He is truly the main wonder of our world as he defies all vets prognosis and greets us each day with a smile on his face, a twinkle in his eyes and a wagging tail.

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I know she dropped one