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.

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Bobs Diary: A word that should be banished.

There are many great things in this life but once Maria mentions the “W” word.

Hisilicon K3

Sunshine is nice…

I’m off.

Hisilicon K3

No fence can keep me out

Where to?

Hisilicon K3

I know the very spot to have a nice nap

Anywhere where everyone is allergic to work.

Bob’s Diary: Summer – Irish Style.

It is no wonder Irish people spend many hours talking or lamenting the weather.

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In the past few days we have gone from this:

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to this, (the vertical lines are large drips of rain falling from the roof)

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which means

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I AM NOT GOING FOR A STUPID WALK!

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.

 

 

Bob’s Diary: Who let him in?

Friday, I had a great dream and a pretty nifty sleep,

bob sleep

then I noticed

bobs discovery

Him.       Who let the bear in?

ellie and bear

 Ellie wasn’t impressed either.

So….

circle the wagons

We decided to circle the wagons, tighten the defense line.

Above all protect… our dinners.

Bob’s Diary: My account of THE PARTY

 

 

Sunday lunchtime saw the Ogres and Fairies working together to prepare the center of the wood. When they finished they stood back to inspect their work.

“It looks amazing.” Breeze said.

“Not bad at all.” Tulip agreed.

Everyone was coming to the party, so the table needed to be extra long. It  zig zagged its way around the large trees near the center clearing of the wood. Tiny wooden bowls sat, in  a line along the center of the table. These were decorated with silver stars and red fairy lights.

At each Ogre’s setting there was  a giant wooden cup, a knife and a fork and a spoon. The chair was decorated in moss and spiderwebs that twinkled when they caught the  sunlight.

Each Fairy place setting had a glass knife and fork, a tiny glass shaped like a star with a squiggly straw peeping from one point. The fairies chairs were decorated in see through silk, with long red ribbons.

Place names were made from wood bark, names carved with fairy dust.

Guests appeared early, they were shown to their seats and sat down. The air hummed with conversation.

The menu was divided into two choices :Ogre stew, or Fairy Pleasant Pie. Ogre’s home brewed snow cone drink or a glass of chocolate strawberry milk, with an assortment of cream pies and fairy cakes to follow.

There would be music and dancing later, they hoped.

“Why did you hang lanterns from the trees? I banged my head off every single one.” Hamish, the Goblin, muttered lifting his hat to show a whole group of bumps and lumps.

“The fairies did it.” Breeze said. The other Ogres nodded in agreement.

“Well done Hamish stupendous lumps,  you would win a competition for them,” Elegant witch said as she arrived with her younger sister Lovisma following behind. Lovisma was closely followed by a giant cauldron which, floated close behind her. She led it with a dog lead. There was a lot of hissing and bubbling coming from the cauldron. A wooden spoon was spinning about, sending drops of liquid spattering the guests.

“We brought, devils delight, for those who don’t really care for milk or water.” Lovisma clapped her hands  in anticipation of the party.

There was silence while the guests and hosts wondered who might be brave enough to speak.

“Ahh what is in devils delight, it smells delicious.” Ellen an elderly tree nymph asked.

“There is a little bit of this and a lot of that but..”

“Nothing that was alive or walked through the forest.” Lovisma said.

“Did it fly?” Breeze wondered.

“No, it’s herbs spices and water, you fool.” Lovisma was starting to spin. When ever she got mad the tiny witch would spin so fast she created a hole in the ground.

The sound of a deep gong filled the wood. “tea is served,” The fairies declared and with a flick of their wands , food appeared in front of the diners.

“This is yummy, did you make it yourself?” Mrs. Groundsel asked Beaver an elderly Ogre.

“I did. Just something I rustled up.”

The Ogres found his answer funny. They giggled until their laughter grew to a roar. Any fairy sitting opposite an Ogre became airborn. Many landed in the trees or on the ground near the edge of the wood.

“Please don’t do that again.” Tulip snapped wiping moss off her best dress.

But they found they couldn’t stop laughing. The madder the fairies became the happier the Ogres were. Their laughter rang out throughout the wood, sending fairies flying through the air.

Finally the fairies got into a huddle. They whispered among themselves. When they broke apart they were smiling.

The Ogres’ looked at one another. “Is this good?” Breeze wondered.

The fairies sat down and began to eat. The Ogres relaxed.

Breeze was sitting opposite the tooth fairy. “Knock , knock, ” he said.

“Who’s there?” She asked

“Tooth!”

“Tooth who?”

“Tooth or dare!”

He smiled delighted at making a tooth fairy joke. When she was knocked off her chair by his laughter she jumped up on her feet shouting, “Ready fairies ?”

Each fairy pointed her wand at a cream pie. With a flick of  her wand a pie hit an Ogre’s face.

“Food fight,” Hamish roared.

“Hang on, Hamish, give us a mo, we can’t waste a pie.” Breeze shouted.

The party fight was on hold while every Ogre removed the pie from their face and carefully ate it.

The fairies picked up their drinks and flew high into the tree to watch. Soon the air was alive with laughter and the sound of faces being struck by pies and cakes.

Everyone declared it to be the best party in the forest. They went home tired and happy though there was no music or dancing. This was noticed by a few of the Ogres who agreed it would be a fitting excuse to host another event.

 

I'll do anything for jellies.

I’ll do anything for jellies. It was great fun to watch.

Bob’s Diary: Countdown to TURKEYDAY

December 21st, cold, wet and she has me:

ippLooking for Holly? I don’t know any Holly. I’d prefer to get to know a turkey.

When she said, we would go home. I thought ; fire, heat but….

tree for christmasNow I know she is crackers!

Finished at last

bob's tree

Now where is the Turkey?

 

Race Day: a true tale witnessed by me,

Annie was hopping about. The mat on the ground was nice and soft.  “Good to bounce on”, she muttered, bouncing about.

This was Race Day. She had to win. She knew she could. She was fast. Even Jill, the tall girl standing beside her, said so. Annie liked Jill but she wanted to beat her to the line.

Annie’s palms were sweating. Her mouth was dry. Somewhere in the stand was her mum, dad, grannies and granddad’s along with most of her family. But she couldn’t think of them.

The man with the whistle was telling them to pay attention and get ready. She didn’t know if she liked him, she couldn’t see his eyes they were hidden under a huge peaked cap. Seeing people’s eyes was a deciding factor for Annie, because you knew by their eyes what they were thinking.

Annie was ready. They had practiced in the back garden and at school. Annie always won.

“Get set!” His voice boomed at her.

Annie faced the rippling tape at the end of the track. It looked very far away. She took a deep breath. The whistle blew.

Annie ran. She pushed her legs out as far as she could. She stared at that line. Tongue out, heart racing, it was getting nearer.

She was halfway down the track when she heard a shout, ” Come on Annie!”
Annie risked a peep to her right. There they were, Mum , Dad, her brothers and sisters, everyone. They were shouting her name. She stopped and squinted at them. They were shouting something at her and waving their arms. She waved back. She felt good. But then she heard the other runners catching up on her. She shouldn’t have stopped, should she? Annie felt afraid, so afraid she couldn’t move. Then she heard someone else say “Come on Annie, why did you stop!”

Taking hold of her hand, Jill looked down at Annie and smiled.
Together they trotted through the tape.

 

Note:

I have had the privilege of witnessing many events like this at Special Olympics, and my main stream athletes who came to assist on the day  were blown away by the fun and competition.