It’s never a good idea to wander through a writer’s mind, especially on a Monday.
Do you rush round cleaning and tidying when the in laws are coming, are you nervous when important visitors are expected? Spare a thought for President Macron who had to cancel the visit of King Charles III as the place was in too much of a mess…
Most of us worry about the cost of running our homes. This is nothing new. We are reading Jude the Obscure for our book club. Jude and Sue are going for a very long walk on the wild heathlands of Wessex and with no coffee shops in sight and poor Sue getting weary, they call at the only cottage for miles around. They end up sharing the mother and son’s dinner and staying the night. In conversation the cottager complained she will never get her roof fixed because the price of thatch has gone up so much.
Yes, I’ve been to the Giant gallery again.
I’ll leave readers to comment… while I take a wander down to the beach.
Charlotte was looking forward to open day at the Hambourne Theatre Royal. A rather grand name for a building that looked like it had seen better days. She had not seen inside, it was one of the places on her list as a new resident of Hambourne. Joining the Hambourne Players had not been on the list, but it seemed a good way to join a backstage tour of the theatre and get inspiration for another adventure for Lottie Lincoln, accidental crime investigator.
Mothering Sunday was best avoided this year and the open day sounded like a Mothers’ Day free zone. As she stepped into the foyer she hoped she would recognise at least one or two of the Hambourne Players and hopefully one or two of them might recognise her. If she ever progressed to an active role in the group they would soon find out she could not act, but hopefully she could paint some scenery, be the prompt or even contribute a few lines to the play they were hoping to write.
A man in a suit was herding people into groups; there was a good turnout and three tours were setting off at the same time. Charlotte sidled over when she heard Hambourne Players being called, she felt like the new girl at school again, especially when someone called out ‘Charlotte Charlington?’
Why did her parents have to ensure she was always going to end up being called Charley by everyone except her parents?
A few of the group stared, some didn’t even turn to look at the newcomer, but a few smiled. She was relieved when the theatre manager started addressing their group and she could avoid having to talk to anyone or worse still have no one wanting to chat to her.
What a lovely theatre, all plush red and opulence from another age, but obviously in need of a lot of loving care, as the manager was quick to point out. She trotted along enthusiastically with the group as they passed through narrow doors and down steep steps. What to stars and theatre staff were narrow corridors and shabby small dressing rooms, were to Charlotte scenes of mystery and dark intrigue for her new novel.
Her excitement grew as they climbed up yet more narrow stairs and came out onto the stage. Real ropes and pulleys and strange equipment in dark spaces high above their heads. A technical chap was now explaining how ropes, weights and counter balances worked and the dangers that lurked in an environment deliciously free of health and safety. Charlotte resisted the temptation to ask if they ever had any nasty accidents. It was then her phone emitted a jolly tune.
‘Mum, where on earth are you, looks like you’re on board a sailing boat.’
‘Shsh Maddy, you didn’t say you were going to Facetime this morning, thought you were going to spend all day in bed as it’s Mothers’ Day.’
Charlotte tried to become invisible and dodge behind some black curtains.
‘I am in bed Mum, they brought me breakfast and I am going to stay here allll… day till the roast beef is ready this evening.’
Charlotte resisted the temptation to say she never got a lie in when they were young, let alone languishing all day… but her main thought was to get her daughter off the phone.
‘Can we Facetime this evening…
‘Oh, okay, I thought you would be sad and lonely…’
Charlotte sighed, now Maddy was going to take umbrage.
‘…what are you doing and who’s that weird bloke talking?’
‘Shsh they’ll hear you, I’m on a theatre backstage tour…’
The technical chap was saying something about grand pianos and raising platforms as Charlotte hurriedly stuffed her phone back in her bag as if she had never taken it out in the first place. The stage floor felt rather uneven, very uneven, Charlotte felt herself go off balance as she heard someone say ‘SWITCH IT OFF.’
‘No I’m fine, just lost my balance for a moment. No please don’t call the first aid officer… ’
Charlotte looked up at the bemused faces above her and cringed, but at the same time her mind retreated into the world of Lottie Lincoln, a night at the theatre, an actor on stage mysteriously disappearing…
Today is the last post I’m sharing with Baz the Bad Blogger, for this month at least… it is the first in depth interview he has given or at least promised to give. He has at last revealed what his front door looks like.
Congratulations to David who was the first to guess correctly that this is the only door Baz sees the inside of and it also keeps everybody else OUT. But Baz’s home is surprisingly small for such a big personality…
…though he still has room for his hobbies such as model railways..
I asked Baz what he liked best about blogging.
‘Reading the spam comments.’
And does he have any tips for bloggers and users of social media.
‘Yes, always be honest.’
A selection of Baz’s comments on WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc perhaps best illustrate why he is so popular.
Your blog was two yards long, but at least I had something to read during my long wait in accident and emergency.
Your blog was mercifully short, but still the most boring blog I have ever read.
If my baby looked like that I certainly wouldn’t put its picture on Facebook.
If that is the cover of your book I dread to think what the words inside are like.
Yes, well Baz, perhaps we had better leave those comments where they belong. Thanks for being my guest, did you say you were off on holiday soon?
‘Yes, somewhere far away.’
Farewell Baz… I really enjoyed getting to know him better and my impression is that he is really just a big old softy who loves his teddies…
…and who will remember to send his mother a card on Mothering Sunday.
Today we discover an unknown side to Baz, his artistic talent. Some have compared him to Banksy, others to Anthony Gormley, but nobody actually knows anything about Baz. His works vary from street art to installation pieces. Enjoy just some of the highlights of his prolific work.
Don’t miss tomorrow’s blog when Baz will hopefully reveal which door was his and some more insights into his life.
I asked Baz why he was so fascinated with doors and he replied that he finds most doors are closed when he comes along. To add a bit of excitement to his contribution to Thursday Doors he wants fellow bloggers to guess which one is his front door. For security reasons Baz never reveals which country he lives in, let alone which street, so I wonder if anyone will guess correctly. So here, without words, is Baz’s fascinating collection of doors.
He’s back! Yes, having just realised lockdowns are over Baz wants to reconnect with other bloggers and hopes to get more than one follower this time. In a series of exclusive interviews and blog shares I find out, or try to find out, what Baz has been doing since 2020.
‘Hello Baz, the last time I spoke to you we heard you were working on your second novel Panzombic.’
‘Yes I have just finished it so I thought I better do some blogs to publicise it. You can buy it on Amazon for £25.’
‘Is that the hardback?’
‘No, the Kindle version, paperback £50, hardback £100. It does have 853, 231 words, so you will get your money’s worth.’
‘In 2020 you were hoping to start a new series of blogs about your garden, Baz’s Blooms.’
‘Yes, that is the blog I am sharing today, I have done a lot of work on my garden during lockdown.’
‘Thanks Baz, I’m sure many gardeners will be inspired by your garden and we can also see you have plenty of leisure interests.’ Enjoy further blogs from Baz soon including his good food guide, shopping hints and his take on Thursday Doors.
Karly King was not looking forward to her ninth birthday, too many presents and a big party at the local bowling alley. She didn’t even like bowling and everyone would be watching as she sent the glittering pink junior bowl straight into the gutter.
Everyone was up, she could hear her brothers fighting already and Dad was yelling Breakfast Readeee. Karly wondered what concoction he had come up with today; he was having a vegan phase, ever conscious of the need for new challenges. Her mother was exempt from the vegan menus as she was pregnant.
Breakfast in pyjamas as it was her birthday, new pyjamas chosen to look good in the photos. Her parents had gone completely over the top as usual and the big family kitchen was adorned with number nine balloons and Happy Birthday Girls banners everywhere. Why did she have to share her birthday, how she longed to be an only child. Out of habit she put on her video face and smiled.
‘Last one down as usual Karly, just like when you were born. Happy Birthday Darling, our little miracle.’
The breakfast was quite nice. Karly smiled to herself as she spotted the flattened ‘Happy Earth Breakfast’ delivery box peeking out of the recycling bin.
‘Lovely breakfast Daddy.’
She would not give the game away, everything in her family must appear real and of course HAPPY.
At school other children envied her family, either wanting to be best friends or teasing them mercilessly. Karly only had one real friend, shy little Betty who lived in a pokey flat with her abandoned mother. She loved visiting Betty as she was treated like a normal child and neither mother nor daughter asked her how the rest of her family were. Betty was too scared to go round to Karly’s house and Karly guessed her protective mother would not let her anyway. The rest of the family did not even know Betty existed, everyone assuming Karly was with one of the others if they noticed she wasn’t at home.
At the breakfast table everyone was debating who would do best at the bowling alley. They had all been practising so they would look good on the day. Her sisters were arguing as to who was going to wear which colour to the party. Identical outfits, lurid leggings and jazzy tops with matching patterns, but each a different colour scheme, had been made by their personal designer. If Karly ever tried to complain about the family lifestyle she would be reminded it was their living and how envious other girls were and how Karly would not like being poor.
It was not easy being a sextuplet, especially in the middle of a huge family whose lives had been documented since before the girls were born, with a few changes of television channel along the way. Six Children Plus Six More had been a big hit, with viewers fascinated how parents who already had six children had found themselves expecting sextuplets. Then before interest could wain, twin boys were on the way. The six girls were Mrs Knight’s only caesarean delivery; quintuplets had been expected, but Karly had been found lurking at the back, the tiniest of the bunch and not expected to live, adding gravitas to the series.
Mr and Mrs Knight gazed lovingly at their huge family, they did love all their children, even if they couldn’t remember their names. It was not easy competing with all the other Big Family documentaries, Twenty Two Children and Counting, Twins Every Time, Tripple Tripple Trouble and Conjoined,The Family That Sticks Together. So it seemed natural to keep having more babies and thinking up more domestic dramas. It was unfortunate that the new headmaster at the primary school had banned cameras; rather hypocritical as the production company had given a lot of books, musical instruments and other extra curricular items to the school. But at least the first programme in series ten would have the annual drama of the birthday party, the Hollywood Bowl taken over completely by the family with two guests for each child. Excitement on the lanes would be followed by the ‘Fantastic Feast’ then over to the park for the girls’ birthday surprise, a pony each.
One set of six keys, one bottle of water, one diary, one iPhone.
One yellow purse containing one note each of the following denominations – £20, £10, £5 and £7.23 in change, one Visa debit card in the name of Lottie Lincoln, six assorted membership cards, an assortment of coffee shop reward cards, one book of second class stamps with one stamp remaining and ten business style cards in the name of Lottie Lincoln, author.
One makeup bag with assorted toiletries, one facemask, one box of plasters, one packet of Ibuprofen, one large notebook, two pens, one large beach pebble, one copy of Big Issue magazine, one Mars bar and one tied plastic bag containing unknown substance.’
At this point Lottie could not resist interrupting.
‘That bag only contains plastic bags, you know, for the recycling bin at the Co Op.’
‘If you say so Madam, but I am not permitted to open it here, it will have to go to the lab for analysis.’
‘Well not just bags, any soft plastic, like those bits you peel off the food containers, you have to wash them of course, especially if it was fish…’
‘Can we just get on, I’m sure you don’t want to be detained any longer than necessary… one carry tray containing six plants…’
‘Primulas, someone was selling them from their front garden, just before I went down to the beach…. And why am I being detained, I only came out for a breath of fresh air and a newspaper, I certainly did not expect this.’
‘Do you often pop out to buy a paper with a heavy rucksack equipped for an expedition?’
‘Hardly that, you should see what I take on a proper expedition. No, I just like to be prepared. So why have I been arrested?’
‘Why were you taking photographs in a restricted area?’
‘Oh, was that sign for real, how exciting, I wondered why that part of the beach was fenced off. I’m new in the area. I was just taking photos for my blog, Literally Lottie.’
‘And how long have you belonged to the activist group?’
‘What activist group… oh you mean all those lovely people with the Save Our Seas posters? I had only just met them when you lot turned up. I can’t see what they have done wrong and certainly you have nothing to charge me with.’
‘Yes I do. Under the Coastal Protection Act 1949, the removal of any natural material such as sand and pebbles from public beaches in the UK is illegal.’