Everything is Upside Down…

 

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This year has been a series of difficulties. More downs than ups, to be honest. So it should come as no surprise to anyone to see a Christmas tree, seemingly floating upside down in mid-air in our front room.

Being white, it looks ethereal, the string it is suspended on almost invisible as it moves slightly on invisible air currents.

It wasn’t easy to do, for these trees are not designed to be upside down, and the top part parted company with the base at the most awkward moment, almost resulting in our giving up on the idea and being conventional after all.

Beneath the tree, looking remarkably like Miss Havisham’s abandoned wedding feast from Dicken’s Great Expectations, we have created a display to reflect the dinner we will not be having in our house.

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The idea came to us because this Christmas will be like no other we have ever had or imagined. For the first time in the history of our family, we will not be here on Christmas Day. Relatives will not be arriving, full of Christmas cheer to share our carefully prepared feast of turkey and all the trimmings. There will be no fun and games at the table when we don’t pull the crackers.

There will be no toasting the cook or pulling the wishbone, not in this house, anyway.

We will all be somewhere else…

 

The next generation in our family is now of an age to change things, to take charge of traditional celebrations and create new ones of their own. This is the way with families.

It came as a bit of a shock for me and for a while I didn’t think I welcomed the invitation. For nearly fifty years, I have been cooking the turkey and mince pies, and I suppose I thought it would continue. I mean, what would I do with myself?

I have accepted the idea now, and the notion of someone else manhandling an uncooperative turkey into an equally uncooperative oven is making me smile.

It will seem odd to have nothing to do on Christmas day, but you never know, I might like it so much I will arrange it for next year too!

 

 

 

My Gentleman and the Stone…

 

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My daughter was weeding her front garden the other day. I was watching and speaking with her when one of our neighbours came along.  I was used to seeing him on his bike, but he was now in a wheelchair.

He stopped to ask if he could have a few pieces of the slate from my front garden, as he liked to paint stones and couldn’t get to the beach anymore.

I was happy to give him as many pieces as he wanted, but before I could bend down to get a few, he asked my name, putting out his hand to shake mine.

Instead of shaking it, he kissed the back of my hand like an olden day gentleman, making me feel like a lady. I could almost feel the crinoline brushing against my legs. He said he would leave a painted piece in my garden when he could.

Two days later, I watched as he tried to maneuver his wheelchair up the small step to my path. Abandoning his efforts, he managed to walk to my front garden.

By now I was on my feet, crossing the room. From my window, I could see a beautifully painted stone lying on the ground. By the time I reached my front door, he had made it back to his wheelchair. Picking up the beautifully painted stone with a lump in my throat, I thanked him and blew him a kiss. He told me that the paint didn’t go well on the slate and had used a stone instead.

I felt overwhelmed by this gift, so much so that I sat on the couch crying my heart out and couldn’t say why.

Jaye said it because it was a wonderful gift, from a wonderful gentleman whose name is Peter…

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Our Cat Merlin…

 

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My daughter and granddaughters gave him to us and he has been a great blessing. Each day he greets you when you rise, very vocally.

He talks a lot and sits on the arm of my chair, his face too close to mine. I have the feeling he wants to get inside my head. I cannot reach for my coffee, so I shoo him away.

My son says he doesn’t know why he loves me so much. I am told that whenever I leave the house, he howls, for he doesn’t like me to go away.

I call him dog because he acts like one. There are times he follows me so closely that I trip over him.

But he is a shadow I cannot do without…

©Anita Dawes

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One of our best Worst Ideas Yet?

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As if we don’t have enough to do, we have stumbled into what might possibly be either a brilliant idea, or the worst kind of madness ever to visit our house.

I’m not sure where this idea came from, but for some totally inexplicable reason, we are both equally enthusiastic about actually writing a mystery/thriller book together.

This may not work for a multitude of reasons, for we usually write in such different genres/and the arguments will probably reach hitherto unreached levels/we may end up killing each other!

We have started, and early indications would suggest it could possibly work!

Anita wrote the first section/intro, and I nervously followed. We average about 500 words each, but this could easily change when the musts get going.

Quite apart from being the most unlikely writing partnership, can you imagine what our respective muses must be thinking?

Other writers have done this, and in the past, we have often wondered how it would work. Now we will discover how hard it will be and if it will even work for us. And if we can do it without any of our legendary arguments, it will be a miracle!

Already, the conversations about the direction of the plot have been pretty spectacular, for we have such very different ideas about everything. The fact that I am the thriller writer around here stands for nothing, and my suggestions have not been well received, to put it mildly!

Today’s discussion ended with Anita suggesting that we start again, and this time write a spooky supernatural story.

We could, of course, but I am trying to finish my current WIP at the moment and all of this chaos is playing havoc with my schedule. It is my turn to write the next section, so I had better make it good!

Sunshine in a Bottle…

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Image by Pixabay.com

 

After blowing out my birthday candles, my nine-year-old granddaughter asked. “What did you wish for, Nan?”

I told her I wished I could bottle sunshine and keep it for the grey days. The next day, my granddaughter came round to see me with her mother and they were both smiling. That was sunshine enough for me.

I could see she was hiding something behind her back, so I asked what she had been up to. She handed me a small bottle filled with yellow paint. I could see that she had poured out the excess paint, making it translucent.

“It’s your wish, Nan. Sunshine in a bottle.”

I put it on my kitchen windowsill so whatever light catches it, I am reminded that sunshine comes in strange ways…

By Anita Dawes

Black Velvet…

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Image by Pixabay.com

 

When I was seven, my mother bought me a black velvet dress for my birthday. It had a white collar with white cuffs on the small puff sleeves.

I felt like a princess, and couldn’t stop rubbing my hands over it. Mother told me to stop doing it, as I would ruin it.

My stepfather Joe said he would take me and my brothers to the park. As we left the house, my mother said not to give me any ice cream.

We played on the swings for a bit and then Joe brought my brother’s some ice cream.

I walked away, wondering if he would do as he was told. I didn’t go far, for I hoped I knew better than that and I was right.  Joe handed me an ice cream, telling me to please be careful.

I said I would, but what child can eat an ice cream without getting it down themselves?  Not me anyway. I kept rubbing at it, making it worse. The velvet was sticking up where I had rubbed it and there was no way to hide it.

All the way home, I wished Joe would run away with us, but he told me not to worry. He would say it was his fault, which in a way it was for buying it for me. I know that’s an unkind thought, but when we got home before he could say a word, mother ripped the dress from my body,  leaving her nail marks on my back because the fabric was too hard to tear.

Joe got both barrels of her temper and I thought his ears would swell and drop off.

This memory has returned, because my daughter who lives next door, was playing a song I haven’t heard for a long time. It was one of my favourites, called Black Velvet.

It’s a funny old life isn’t it, the way old memories come back?

Anita Dawes 2018

A Different Kind of Guest Posting

 

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I was minding my own business the other day when an idea arrived, but instead of my mind gently offering it to me, it smacked me upside my head!

What would happen if we could virtually invite one of our favourite authors to interview on the blog?

Think of the possibilities, we could interview anyone, the sky’s the limit…

At this point, my mind was galloping around like a six-year-old on a make-believe horse!

But … and there is always a but, isn’t there? Who would I choose?

Every time I thought of one, several others started elbowing him aside, making the inside of my head feel like a January Sale.

I tried to reassure them all that I would get around to all of them in due course, but of course, this wasn’t good enough. By their reasoning, my first choice would relegate all of the others to the status of second choice and nobody thought that was a good idea.

Another worrying thought marched up, briefcase in hand, waving frantically to get my attention among all the intense arguing that was going on. As if by magic, the arguing stopped and I waited for a pin to drop to prove I hadn’t gone deaf.

This newcomer strutted up and down like the solicitor he obviously had been, as he began to quote all the legal and moral implications.  I hadn’t given a thought about any of that, but surely, I would be on safe ground if I confined my interviews to authors who were no longer with us?

One by one, the list of reasons that gave rise to all of my doubts did their best to scupper what seemed like a brilliant idea at the time.

I argued that it would be okay if I kept to the facts and not fictionalise anything, but then I realised it would be boring.

As the idea curled up and died, I resigned myself to searching for other blog topics to write about instead. My brain, however, wasn’t taking any of this lying down and came up with another idea, one that had been suggested by one of my favourite bloggers, Craig (coldhand)Boyack.  He has Lisa Burton, this amazing robot muse to help him with much of his workload. He won’t say where he found her but hinted there may be more out there, waiting for the right writer to come along…

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