Monday Madness

When one gate stays open..

Another gate stays closed

When your neighbours get a new front door.

When your neighbours build an extension with a penthouse aviary.

Look up…

Look down.

Heatwave brings return of The Triffids.

Macro Madness – guess what? Answers below, but not necessarily in the right order.

THE END

Identity Crisis

Luke wished he could take his legs off, it was turning into a long evening. He had not expected the Clacket Lane Junior School Reunion to end with police questioning. Taking over the identity of the deceased Nigel Palmer had seemed a good idea at the time, a chap with no family or partner was not going to be missed. Nigel Palmer himself, who ironically died with his limbs intact, would not miss his passport and his wallet containing money, bank cards, NHS number and private health insurance details. The original plan had just been to return to England as a different person, start again. But the new life was halted before it started when Luke lost both legs above the knees. Ever one to look on the positive side, Luke realised that Nigel Palmer was going to get much better treatment and rehabilitation than Luke the Loser.

Now Luke cursed himself for thinking it a good idea to attend the reunion. The plan was to round off his knowledge of Nigel’s life, feel like a real person. Who could have predicted another Nigel impersonator would already be there.

At the hospital a police officer was interviewing an injured man who admitted he was not Nigel Palmer, obviously a man with mental health issues, his explanation made no sense. He had tried to escape from a hotel, but only escaped with minor injuries after the fire brigade had demolished half the gents’ toilet to release him from a window frame.

Back at the police station Detective Sergeant Dilly Deans finished interviewing the man with bionic legs. He was obviously the genuine Nigel Palmer, all the checks had come back positive. Goodness knows why that dreadful woman organising the reunion had insisted he was an imposter, just because he could not recall much about his junior school days, who does? His traumatic injuries had left him with gaps in his memory and all the poor man wanted to do was fill in the gaps.

‘I am so sorry we detained you Mr. Palmer, night duty will give you a lift to where you are staying.’

In his hospital bed Nicholas could not get to sleep, he was not at all sure what was going to happen next, would he be charged with any crime? One good thing had come out of this, more ideas than he expected for his new novel. A man who has a breakdown and wakes convinced he is Johnny, his classmate at junior school. While psychologists try to assess his rare condition the real Johnny confronts him and has old scores to settle…

Don’t Mention The Weather

We were on a college summer camp on Rottnest Island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, well only 18 kilometres from Fremantle, Western Australia, but one of the girls had to be airlifted off by helicopter as she had heatstroke. Happy days – when we emigrated to Australia in 1964 nobody worried about skin cancer or staying hydrated. Fortunately my parents were aware the sun was hot. Dad was out in Egypt after WW2 before he was demobbed and told of ’idiots’ being stretchered out with third degree burns after sun bathing. Fortunately my parents avoided the beach after being taken to Scarborough Beach by our sponsors on our first day in Australia. Huge waves and hot sand did not appeal and we went to pleasant shady spots by the River Swan.

My novel Quarter Acre Block was inspired by our first year in Australia.

Unfortunately school outings were gloriously free of sun hats and sun lotion and I recall an early outing when we spent the whole day on the beach and next day my nose peeled and bled! Outings with youth groups on hot days were often followed by me feeling sick the next day; setting off without any money and probably a picnic with a plastic bottle of cordial, I obviously didn’t drink enough. At school we did have plenty of water fountains, I didn’t spend my whole time dehydrated, but my sister recalls that if you were thirsty when you were out you stayed thirsty. I’m sure other people were buying bottles of coke and cool drinks of lurid colour, but we were not.

Sun and shade in Western Australia.

Our current heatwave has brought endless dire warnings of the dangers of going out – or staying inside homes not designed to cope with hot weather. Modern parents never let their children out without a bottle of water, but they should not panic – if Prince George could sit in the heat of Wimbledon dressed in a jacket and tie there is no need to pamper children.


How is the weather where you are?

Beach Hut Tales

We are having a heatwave, bad for my garden, but perfect for being in the sea, except first you have to get to the beach or your beach hut…

Yesterday after writers’ group I decided to get on a bus and get off at Woodland Walk, which as its name suggests is a cool and pleasant walk from a busy road to the cliff top. As soon as I left the shade of the trees the heat hit me. I crunched across our toasted cliff top to approach my beach hut from the other direction to my usual walk from home.

The stone building is not a castle, but the toilet block by our beach huts.
The descent down the ravine, more fun going down than up.

The hot weather reminded me of last year when my daughter-in-law sent a clip of a beach hut on fire. I quickly ascertained it wasn’t our strip. Everyone was safe, but I imagine there wasn’t much left of the beach hut or its neighbours! Gas rings, flapping curtains and wooden huts are a recipe for disaster perhaps. In the local paper the owner was quoted ’my nephew came to fetch me and said Aunty I think the beach hut is on fire… ’ hmm, my suspicious mind wondered what the boy might have been up to..

I fully expect that one day calamity will strike my hut, either one of the regular cliff falls or a cliff fire in scorching weather. But other dramas also occur. I am now a member of that group ’widows who sit in beach huts.’ There are three of us in my little strip and it is only recently I heard the stories of the other two ladies, widowed a good while. We were all chatting when the most senior said to the other ’I don’t think you were here back then when my husband died.’

‘Oh yes I was,’ she replied ’I remember doing CPR on him on the beach hut floor!’

Sunday Short Story – Sending Out An SOS

Nicholas felt like Winnie the Pooh after eating a whole jar of honey…though he was not stuck in Rabbit’s burrow, but in the window of the end cubicle of the Gent’s toilet. In one of his chaplit rom com novels this had always been an excellent way to escape embarrassing or dangerous situations. Now Nicholas had created his own dramatic scene.


His big mistake had been to keep one arm behind for manoeuvring, now this arm was firmly wedged between his stomach and the window frame. Nicholas looked down at the deserted alley below, at least no one could see his predicament.

The muted sound of music and lively chatter floated down the corridor to the hotel cloakrooms. Hopefully everyone’s attention was still focussed on the late arrival of the real Nigel Palmer at the Clacket Lane Junior School reunion. How long before they noticed that Nicholas the imposter Nigel Palmer had slipped out of the function room? The tough looking real Nigel with his beard, biceps and bionic legs was unlikely to have ended up in such a humiliating situation.

How long before someone sauntered into the Gents so Nicholas could yell for help, or preferably keep quiet. As he tried to stretch his outside arm he realised he could reach into his top pocket for his phone. Maybe the emergency services would rescue him before his old classmates found him; he would not tell them he was in trouble, he would report as an anonymous passerby.


There was shock for the Clacket Lane party as flashing lights and sirens were followed by all three emergency services bursting into the function room. It was a quiet night in the town and they were all glad to respond to confused 999 calls that could be a suicide, burglary or major terrorist incident.

Nigel’s plan worked, he was being rescued, or at least there was talk of equipment being fetched by the voices he could hear behind him. In the alleyway an ambulance lady tried to reassure him, while a police officer asked how many terrorists were in the hotel. He would have been further reassured if he could have seen his former class mates lying on the floor being checked for weapons.

All except Caroline Hepworth who had managed to slip away, determined to see who was ruining her well organised evening. When she heard someone say ’in the alleyway Sarge’ she crept out, one of the advantages of being a woman of a certain age, one was always invisible. Peering in the darkness she could see two figures in yellow jackets talking to a head sticking out of a window, when a torch beam moved she caught a glimpse of a face. Wedged in the window was the man who had been Nigel Palmer all evening until the appearance of the more exciting real Nigel Palmer.

‘Don’t let him go,’ she bellowed ‘he’s an imposter.’

‘Not much chance, he’s stuck fast.’

‘Oh dear, is it serious, I mean he might be real and the other chap an imposter.’

Beach Hut Drama

On Valentine’s night February 2014 Britain had a huge storm, not dramatic compared with world disasters, but several people were killed and the walls of our brick house shook. In the morning the storm was still raging and tales emerged of dramas; the public were warned to stay away from coastal areas, so I looked up the time of high tide, 9am and told Cyberspouse we must walk to the cliff top. We could lean straight into the howling wind coming off the sea, safe from being blown off the cliff, but as we peered over the edge we had a shock.


Beach huts were reduced to matchsticks and heavy gas bottles blown along the promenade. Naturally I insisted to Cyberspouse that we go down, along with other sightseers. Beach hut owners were shocked to see their huts no longer existed and searched the wreckage for any belongings they could salvage. Of course losing your home is far worse than a little wooden box and easy to say as our hut, further along and on an upper level was fine! The owners who had lost beach huts certainly did not look happy. But I had an idea for a story, what would happen to anyone down on the promenade that night? my idea even became the start of my novel ’At The Seaside Nobody Hears You Scream.’ Read more about the novel on my About page.

Beach Boxes

Winter walk on the promenade.

An Australian visitor once commented ’Why would you go to the beach and sit in a wooden box.’ Fair comment, though we hope to sit outside it in the sun, it is good to retreat into if it rains or gets very windy. jThere has been unexpected blogger interest in beach huts. They are all different, no that’s not true, rows and rows of identical huts all the same size, though interiors can be very creative. our huts have no facilities except callor gas rings, perfect for mulled wine at Christmas.

When we first moved here the late Cyberspouse was at work and thought he would ring up the council and ask for a beach hut. He was told there was a six year waiting list and we did wait six years! It was worth it if you consider that had we not gone on the list we would not have got one at all. He liked to cycle there after work and have some peace and quiet – if I wasn’t there…


Beach Lodges with kitchen, toilet, shower and sleeping for six. Rent from the council for mid week or weekend stays. I can’t tell you how much, that would depend on the date and I couldn’t negotiate the website, though I gather you have to be quick.

Next time – beach hut drama!

Tuesday Today

Several bloggers mentioned they had not heard of beach huts, so I could not resist taking these pictures today, stopping for lunch at my beach hut on a walk to Bournemouth.
I won’t tell you where these are as there is not enough room for everyone to visit at once. As you can see, I was the only one at home today, though generally there were many people out and about.