Silly Saturday – How to Cheat at State Visits

A state visit is when someone comes to your home, but you don’t recall inviting them. If you look out your front window and see lots of photographers you are sure to be having a state visit and you must be prepared.

On a state visit it is bad manners to wait till the doorbell rings, you must be outside ready to greet them; this is when you will need help from your family and colleagues. If the visitors have brought their whole family you must find an equal number of members of your own family who have not been insulted by the guests and do not have anything better to do, like go to work or look after the baby.

Each visitor must be greeted with sincere smiles, for the benefit of the cameras, and cheerful small talk. At this early stage of the meeting it is best to stick to the weather.


You will also need help indoors. Your guests may expect to stay in your home, you can get out of this by having renovations done on the house, but you cannot get out of giving them a good meal. If you are The Queen you are used to giving banquets and will have a few people to help, but if you don’t have a banqueting hall you just need to pull out the leaves on the dining table, buy a few candlesticks at the charity shop and you can get three bunches of flowers for a fiver at the greengrocers. Don’t forget to buy a few bottles of wine when you get the food shop.

The menu is important as it will feature in reports of the state visit. If you are The Queen you may have to take the great grandchildren’s pet hand reared lamb and roast it, but you can probably get away with a couple of chickens from Aldi.


Finally you will need felt pens and some recycled card to make place names for the table, but planning the seating is easy with these simple rules. Each person must sit next to someone of the opposite sex who they have never met before. Don’t forget to wear your best clothes and remind your family to be on their best behaviour and leave their mobile phones in the box at the door.

Good luck and don’t forget to record that television programme you were looking forward to watching in your pyjamas.



Friday Flash Fiction – 868 – Heroes

Jed Baker strode across the landing strip with his usual measured pace. His co-pilot Chas Blair was already checking the fuel and instruments.

‘There’s only a small window in the weather Skipper’ said Chas.

‘So are we ready for take off? Don Carlos is a fool if he thinks Felicity Fairdew’s family are going to stump up the ransom money.’

In the blue sky the cotton wool clouds soon gave way to a dark menacing cover, the little plane shuddered and the port wing dipped. Inside the cockpit Jed’s strong hand gripped the joy stick and his firm jaw remained set. Chas checked the map then peered through the rain lashed side window.

‘I can just see the castle turrets above the clouds, but to find the river, let alone the flat riverside meadow could be impossible Jed.’

‘We’ve faced worse than this fighting Gerry’ replied his friend.

They descended through the clouds.

‘We could use the road as a marker,’ said Chas ‘but in this weather we could mistake the road for the river.’

There was silence as the two men concentrated, then with a bump they landed on the green velvet of the meadow just as the rain ceased and the sky turned blue.

‘Well Chas, we can see our way to the castle now, unfortunately Don Carlos will be able to spot us.’

Still in their flying jackets they paced their way carefully across the meadow.


In the tower of the inner keep Don Carlos peered out through the narrow slit in the stone wall and laughed.

‘My old friends Pilot Officer Baker and Pilot Officer Blair; they will never make it up the sheer walls… and my dear Miss Fairdew, Colonel Fairdew has not responded to my messages. It looks as though I shall be enjoying your company for another evening. Perhaps the roast pheasant will tempt your appetite.’

Felicity Fairdew shook her long blonde hair and stared defiantly at him with her large eyes, her ruby lips remained set in a pout.

‘I shall not enjoy your company, nor will a morsel of food pass my lips till you set me free.’


The two heroes felt their way along the slippery, steep rock face of the extinct volcano the ancient castle was built upon.

‘It’s no use Chas, this mount is as impossible to climb as Mount Everest.’

‘But we can’t let Miss Fairdew down, I can’t bear to think of such a beautiful girl at the mercy of that brute.’

‘I think you have fallen in love with fair Felicity and a black and white photograph is all you have seen. You must not let romantic ideas cloud your judgment. Chaps like us can only admire gals like her from afar.’

‘The war’s over Jed, it’s time a chap like me settled down.’

Jed’s firm jaw dropped for a second before rejoining his stiff upper lip.

‘Settle down? What would happen to Double B International Rescue? No more talk now Pilot Officer Blair, it’s time for plan B, if we can’t climb up we shall drop down.’

‘You mean…’

‘Yes, it’s time to try the gallant old girl on auto pilot.’

The two men moved as swiftly as they could back to the plane.

‘Take over the controls Chas while I get my ‘chute on. If anything happens to me you’ll get your chance to be the sole saviour of the lovely Miss Fairdew.’

‘Nothing’s going to happen to you Skip and I’ll be landing two ticks behind.’


The plane bumped along the meadow and almost hesitated as it took off, but soon it was circling round the castle, higher and higher. A figure dropped out and a white parachute unfurled, shortly after, a second figure emerged and the little plane straightened into a descent.

By the castle keep the two airmen dropped, knees bending into a roll.


‘Okay, CUT’ said the director. ‘Well done boys, take a break before the interior shoot. Cameras One and Two I want you inside the Great Hall filming Jed and Chas as they break down the wooden door. Camera Three on Felicity’s face, Four on Don Carlos as he lurches drunkenly towards her.



Jed turned to Chas. ‘How do we break down that massive oak door? I feel as if I have no strength in my arms.’

‘No worries, special effects are dealing with that, we concentrate on our entrance, build ourselves up, imagine how we would be feeling.’


‘Method acting, new idea the director wants to try, we take the lead.’

‘The director is supposed to direct me, I don’t know how to take the lead… Chas, I think something happened when I landed, I can’t move my legs.’

‘Same here, I think I’m having a panic attack. We must pull ourselves together before they blast down that door.’


The director yelled at his assistant. ‘What the hell’s going on Pelham, what’s happened to Jed and Chas?’

‘It’s okay boss, I had to cut their strings, they got in such a tangle in the parachute scene. I’ll try and restring them during the tea break.’

The cameraman laughed. ‘Looks like poor Chas won’t be hitting the sack with Felicity tonight.’

Heroes is one of the 24 tales in Hallows and Heretics

Only £1.28 on Amazon Kindle

also available in paperback.




The Blog of Many Colours

Times and Tides of a Beachwriter is brought to you today by the most boring colour…

Stevie Turner suggested I tackle beige, I don’t think she claimed it as her favourite colour. If it is I hope she won’t be offended. You can visit her blog here where she does a great job supporting other bloggers.

Is beige the most boring colour? Knowing I was going to write this, a friend described a live show many moons ago when a well know comedian was making jokes about ladies in beige twin sets and my friend was wearing one; she shrunk down in her seat.

Is beige even a colour? Here is a picture of the most boring Poole Pottery ever made. Created in the 1970’s it was called mushroom and sepia, but it is a far cry from their earlier patterns or the fiery red vases they are famous for.


Here at Chez Tidalscribe there is a family joke about those useful gilets with lots of very useful pockets that the older man likes to wear … and they are always beige. My late uncle used to wear one and we are always seeing uncle lookalikes. Cyberspouse is determined never to buy one.


But where does beige come from? It takes its name from the French, where the word originally meant natural wool that has been neither bleached nor dyed. It has come to be used to describe a variety of light tints chosen for their neutral or pale warm appearance. Paint manufacturers make up many exotic names for paint that is really just shades of beige and there is nothing wrong with painting your house in neutral colours to look light and clean, you can always get bright curtains. Hmmm  I have just realized we have beigish curtains, bought in Debenham’s sale years ago. They tone down the butterscotch walls and the orange throws and turquoise cushions on the multi coloured sofa…


When grandchild number one was expected the parents didn’t want to know the sex, so the nursery was decorated in beige and looked calm and soothing. When number two was on the way they did want to know; they were delighted it would be a girl this time, so the nursery was decorated in every shade of pink and in her cot the baby’s face took on an orange glow when the evening sun shone through the cerise curtains.

Beige; do you love it or hate it?

Fashion or interior design?

Silly Saturday – Starting Summer

Hurrah, Meteorological Summer starts today, you don’t have to wait till the summer solstice. The weathermen like to divide the year up into seasons of exactly three months according to the Gregorian calendar. Don’t forget, if you are living in the Southern Hemisphere summer is not starting for a long time. If you are a school child in the Northern Hemisphere you may already be on school holidays or may have a long time to wait yet.

If you are on top of Mount Everest it is time to come down, the weather window is nearly over and monsoons are coming. If the summit is as crowded as last week you will have to queue up to come down.

NZ Queenstown

If you are Teresa May, May is over and you only have a week left as leader of the conservative party, but perhaps you have a summer walking holiday to look forward to.


Summer means we must all look happy and smile at others… if they look up from their phones long enough to notice. If you are a gardener it is safe to plant out your summer bedding and discover how many weeds have taken over… it also means that the non gardeners in the family will have to cook dinner if they don’t wish to starve – the long summer evenings mean you can stay out in the garden watering and dead heading forever.


What does summer mean to you – putting the chairs out in the garden or going swimming in the sea?

What is your favourite summer song – Cliff Richard’s Summer Holiday or Lovin’ Spoonful’s ‘Summer in the city’?