Friday Flash Fiction 727 – Zoom

Susan doubted that the Crafton Castle Crafters were ready for the online world, a year into the pandemic and they were only just having their first Zoom meeting. Jenny had been urging them on and as she was home schooling her six children they all agreed she was best qualified to be host.

The Crafton Castle Crafters didn’t actually meet at the castle, but at the First Crafton Scouts’ hut. They did pay a hefty contribution to be ‘Friends of Crafton Castle’ and on their frequent visits, pre-Covid, they gained inspiration from the famous tapestries, carved wood panelling and beautiful gardens. Susan had been very disappointed that their various gifts of samplers, marquetry and pottery had not featured in the castle’s recent on line exhibition ‘Now and Then’. She was looking forward to hearing what the other members thought.

Susan scrolled down on her ipad to find the email with the link and soon was faced with the message Your host will let you in shortly. 7pm they were meant to start, the minutes ticked by, 7.05, 7.09… Suddenly the screen was filled with the faces of lots of grumpy old people looking confused. Then Jenny appeared in a corner of the screen.

‘Sorry everyone, bedtime stories and I had to reassure Guinevere that the Covid monster could not get in their bedroom. Now have we got everyone? Giles has managed to co opt a couple of his bored sixth formers, Josie chicken wire sculptures and Ben junk statues. Hello Josie and Ben…’

Susan peered closer at the tiny views of living rooms, offices and kitchens; not how she would have imagined Martin’s place. She didn’t recognise Graham at first with that beard and who on earth was Bryony? She was sitting on a floral sofa looking very demure and how had she managed to get her hair done so nicely during lock down, or was it a wig?

Jenny was still talking. ‘…and I’m still trying to negotiate a socially distanced cream tea in the castle gardens. Now who wants to start? I’ve finished another three dozen masks from my fabric scraps and made the curtains for the girls’ bedroom with matching duvet covers. George, we can’t hear what you are saying, you’re still on mute. Phyllis, tell us what you have been up to.’

‘Oh, um yes, can you hear me…’

‘Yes, loud and clear.’

‘I have nearly finished that bookmark knitted with sewing needles and sewing cotton… oh dear, that’s my phone ringing…’

Susan tried to keep a straight face as Phyllis heaved her bulk out of the chair. They all watched as she waddled the two steps to grab the telephone. Her voice was picked up perfectly and broadcast into all their homes.

‘Phyllis, put yourself on mute.’

‘Oh hello dear, oh no, how many bits did they have to take out? Has he got one of those bags? No it’s awful you can’t go and see him.’

‘Phyllis, you have to put yourself on mute, the rest of us can’t hear ourselves.’

‘Well I must go, we’re having a Zoom meeting. You didn’t know I was so tech savvy did you. The crafters, hilarious, they have all aged about ten years in lock down, except for Brian.’

Susan noticed a variety of expressions on the faces of the others as they tried to pretend they weren’t listening. Josie and Ben had broad grins. Phyllis was now laughing and struggling to get out her next words.

‘Yes… six foot four Woodwork Brian has become Bryony during lockdown, well you can tell, but he’s a lot more glamorous than most of our ladies. Jenny took him clothes shopping in between lockdowns.’

Susan peered closer at the top left hand square containing ‘Bryony’ and wondered how Phyllis knew all this gossip. Then she glanced down at Josie and Ben; they were obviously enjoying the meeting far more than they might have expected.

‘Byebye dear, yes and you…

Phyllis put the phone down.

‘Sorry about that everyone.’

‘Well I’m sure we shall gradually get used to Zoom’ said Jenny. ‘I think Phyllis has rather pre-empted the announcement Bryony wanted me to make on hi… her behalf.

Susan felt the gloom of the past few months lift, what a fun evening, she couldn’t resist speaking out.

‘Well, we’re really members of the BLTGCHQ Community now.’

Silly Saturday In Isolation

Are you self isolating, or worse, are you stuck at home with your family for two weeks?
Here are handy hints for making the most of your time and discovering more about yourself … and your home.

1. Sort out your drawers, find the leaflets for those shows and concerts you wanted to see – in 2011. And if you have any 2020 leaflets you can throw them out as well – those great events you wanted to go to will all be cancelled.

2. Catch up with the five years’ worth of that magazine you subscribed to.
3. Turn out your cupboards and sell everything on ebay.
4. Following on from Three, you now have plenty of space and some spare money. Go on line for some shopping therapy and buy lots more things you don’t need.
5. Making cup cakes seems to be popular with parents forced to look after their own children. Alas, you can’t invite anyone round to eat them.
6. Get out your old sewing machine and make yourself a Corona proof suit.
7. Do some gardening, at least the birds are still visiting you.

8. Dust and rearrange your ornaments if you haven’t already sold them on ebay.
9. Have a teddy bears’ picnic in your front room; they are your only real friends now.

10. If you are still bored, call out the fire brigade; at least you will have something to see in the empty street outside when you look out the window.
11. Follow on line Pilates and every motivational exercise programme you can find.
12. Catch up with the ironing or teach yourself how to iron.
13. Take up knitting or crochet and make face masks.
14. Go in the garage or shed and gather up all the old paint tins. Create a mural in the room of your choice.

15. Make your own youtube videos on fourteen ways to occupy yourself in isolation.

Sunshine Blogger Award Nomination

Thanks to Cheryl of The Cornucopia Allotment for nominating me. Here are my answers to Cheryl’s ten questions, followed by bloggers I have nominated and questions I have chosen.

1.What is your favourite Flower?   Very hard to decide as I love so many, but perhaps the humble nasturtium, relative of the cabbage; their simple citrus colour flowers zing even on a grey day. I scatter seeds and when other flowers are past their best they pop up.

2- What landscape instils calm on a chaotic day?  The sea or a high hill looking down, what may be noisy below is reduced to a pleasant hum or complete silence.

3- What is your strongest practical skill?   Probably anything to do with needles.

4- What is your favourite craft?   Knitting and crochet, they are relaxing sharing with friends or watching television, but I would love to be able to create beautiful textile pictures.

5- What is your most unusual food craving?  Not sure, but I do love traditional mashed potato and roasted red peppers.

6- What if anything, is on your learning bucket list?  Vastly improving my digital age skills.

7- Have you a favourite author for a rainy day? Tim Winton, Australian novelist, born in Perth where I spent my teenage years, his books transport me back to a hot country.

8- To me sweetcorn tastes of summer! What is your sunshine food? Home grown cherry tomatoes taste of sunshine.

9- If you had the chance to learn to grow anything what would it be? Sweet peas, they smell so divine, but I have never had much success.

10- If money was no object what type of garden would you design? A sunny hillside; near the house would be the walled garden full of abundant herbaceous borders and raised vegetable beds. Descending to the winding river below would be narrow paths among trees and then a grassy spot to sit by the river. Everything would be planted to attract wildlife. As money is no object I would have a head gardener training youngsters and I would just float around dead heading and cutting sweet peas for indoors.


The bloggers I am nominating are just a few of the bloggers who make me laugh, take me to new places or help other bloggers. No pressure, if you want to have a go answer some or all of the questions. If any other bloggers want to join in you are very welcome.

Anita Dawes and Jaye Marie


Biff Sock Pow

Bluebird of Bitteness

Life and Soul Magazine

Notes From The UK

Stevie Turner

Here’s what to do!

1- Give a big thank you to the person who nominated you so others can find them!

2-Answer the questions from the blogger who nominated you.

3-Nominate other bloggers and ask them your own set of questions!

4- Let the nominees know about the nomination in one of their posts!

5-List the rules and the Sunshine Award nomination on your own site.

6- Let the fun begin!


  1. If money and responsibilities were no problem where would you like to live and write?
  2. Many writers have pets draped over their keyboard or under their desk. If you could choose one creature to be your pet what would it be? You can opt for anything from a spider to an elephant.
  3. If you were invited to talk about your book on television or the radio which programme would you like to appear on?
  4. Which famous person would you be thrilled to have following your blog?
  5. You have decided to go on an adventurous expedition to achieve fantastic sales for your book. Where would you go?
  6. Number five didn’t work so you must fake your own death to boost sales, what sort of demise would you choose?
  7. You have been invited to a garden party at Buckingham Palace. You are most excited because A. You will meet the Queen. B. A loved one accompanying you deserves a day out. C. You like cake. D. You like looking round other people’s gardens. E. It will make a good topic for your blog. F. Excellent research for you novel.
  8. Research is hard work so you decide to use a time machine for your historical or futuristic novel. Which time will you travel to?
  9. Number six went drastically wrong, who did you leave your manuscripts and intellectual property to in your will?