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.

 

 

So ..I have written a book for kids, what next?

The simple answer would or should be, write another one. And there are five or six books written but not edited sitting in a neat queue somewhere in my desk.

However, I am stuck on the marketing and shouting about the first one.

If I constantly blog about it, – am I seeming too pushy? I dither on this question. But you guys are truthfully the only ones who read my ramblings, and for that I am extremely grateful.  So please let me know if I am pushing it a bit.

Blogging, twittering, FB and G+ are very time-consuming events. Which limits time for other important stuff. The only one in my house who loves to see me head for the computer is – Bob.

He assumes his best-loved position. Sorry there are two:

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Everyone else groans, (including Ellie) as they know I will be superglued to the seat until I have set up x amount of promotional posts.

And lastly for today my promotional push is:

The Runaway Schoolhouse is on Kindle for €0.99 ($0.99) for the next week, in the hope that a few reviews will float or clunk (be thrown) my way.

The purpose of the reviews for me is to help discover the fate of the other books gathering dust in my desk. Do I continue to publish or simply to blog?

runaway_schoolhouse_cover_Latest_151031ch11-mrs-brown-the-clown

 

Dear Father Time,

Can I slow Time?

We didn’t know Bob when he was a pup but I imagine him as a cool super pup like this guy,

young pup elkhound

Full of life and fun.

He came into our lives when he was 2 and a bit.

Got itA bundle of trouble as every follower knows. He ate everything in his way, pipes in drains, remote control unit for the electric gate, the tube covering the wires for the gate itself, shoes, boxes, flower pots the list is endless.

He wasn’t always so laid back, he would almost jump into my arms if a gate rattled as we passed it. He didn’t like big dogs, and still views them suspiciously. He always loved people, big and small. We are a constant source of amusement to him.

However, lately we are becoming aware of his age. Walks take longer, stopping to pee is more frequent, a slight limp is evident on some days, as arthritis creeps in. His meals are prepared with care, adding fish oils, no need to worry about fruit and veg as he loves both and snacks on carrots, steals strawberries, raspberries and blackberries straight from the plants. He has learnt that if he rubs off the apple tree some apples will land at his feet and they are sampled as well.

He ambles after me and will sit watching me as I garden, do housework or write but after five minutes his snoring fills the quiet space between us.

Take today for instance, I suggested a walk and was subjected to the following looks. I took them to mean,

sdr

Am I hearing you correctly?

dav

Is she for real?

 

dav

If I pretend I am tired then all will be well.

He is 12 years of age and I want to stop his aging. Has anyone any helpful tips regarding arthritis etc with older dogs?

As usual all answers will be gratefully received.

 

Bob’s Diary: Perhaps we should build an ark?

A walk which Ellie tried to turn into a game of chase

dav

sdr

but I wasn’t having any of it.

dav

 

 

The field was flooded so walking and definitely running was off the timetable , for me, instead I decided on a snooze, meanwhile the other pair had made a new friend

dav

or was it a friend and a half?

bty

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.

In a perfect Ireland the following would not be heard of:

1.   Politicians who break promises as frequently as they drink tea.

2.  Social inequality – to achieve perfect equality everyone receives the same wage for working. Including politicians (which would mean pensions are limited to one pension per person.)

3.   Minority groups who claim to be in the minority with such strength of feeling their needs are met to such an excessive level that their claims exceed the majority.

4.  Rural Ireland having no public transport.  Trains and buses would run strictly to timetable.

5.   A low number of hospitals in each county – every major town would have a hospital capable of dealing with its community.

6.  Every A & E room that looks like a Christmas sale event. With people fighting for beds or in some cases trolleys.

7.  Taxes being dispersed as randomly and thoughtlessly like bird food.

8.  Tribunals – which only serve to raise the blood pressure of the average income tax payer.

9.  A police force stretched thin.

10.  Children having more rights than parents.

Please note the above are all merely my opinion/feelings on what is happening around me and I would love to hear comments or additions to the above list. Now I am off to join my chilling dog who takes life the way we were meant to (in a perfect world) – by enjoying every moment.

IMG_7921

 

Bob’s Diary: If an Ogre can do it – can I?

I know I haven’t written about the Ogre from the wood for a while but really an Ogre and a Fairy in a book for children? I wonder if anyone would like to read stories about me? Or am I losing my good looks and sociable friendly personality?

bob high viz 1

I know Maria has an idea rattling around in that big old empty brain of hers, but, please let me know what you think.

bob2

Bob’s Diary. Why cats?

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

peeking

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.

ipp

Bob’s Diary: Three Wishes.

copy-bob-for-heading.jpgIf I were granted three wishes I would have to ask for:

 

1.  I would have a food/treat dispensing machine installed in my kennel.

2.   I could sleep through anything, i.e. Ellie throwing her balls on my body as I sleep, Maria shouting time for a walk, (every day, it’s a bit much you will have to agree.)

3.  I would have my own personal groomers. I love having my back scratched, behind my ears, under my chin and on my belly.

I would also plead for a fourth wish, to stop Maria dressing me up for photo’s. (And she didn’t even put me on the cover of her book!)

Remembering these makes me think maybe it is best not to ask to be on her next cover.

ballsbobs discoveryhelp pleasedetective bob 1wear a silly hat

Maria’s Stuff: Reality Check – One year on and still missing her.

The 30th of May was an awkward weird day. I woke remembering but trying hard not to visualise my last few minutes with my mum.

After watching her cope with being paralyzed on her left side, and her ensuing struggle to live on a daily basis I have learnt to recognize, and admire the courage of the elderly and anyone who is ill.

On a stranger note I get angered by the daily flippant changes in our Irish healthcare system which are  devoid of commonsense, logic and business sense.

I do have many regrets involving her last year. The main one being my constant questions (in my own mind) about how we failed in our lack of care. We did everything we could at the time, don’t get me wrong but looking back I see the faults, the areas where I should have demanded more on her behalf.

The reality of a situation like that is though you may be doing the best you can for them, I felt, in this case,nothing I did was good enough. I am left wondering and questioning if I could have done better, more..

For now, I focus on remembering the times we laughed, moaned or groaned to each other .

I have also learnt that a life no matter how long or short it is, is often remembered by moments. These snapshots bring back memories of vivid happiness, fun, grief, nothing escapes but they are all moments to be treasured.

For the first time in my life I appreciate and understand her unspoken philosophy of being involved, doing something no matter how trivial or menial. The size of the gesture or involvement doesn’t matter. It is the act of living, being part of life. And all I can add is for such a small woman she managed to do a whole lot of living.