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

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!

Woodland Walk

Rounding off this week’s May walks, saunter across Tuckton Bridge to the Christchuch side of the River Stour.

Where are you now and who is watching you?

Perhaps you won’t get lost if you follow the path…

…and don’t annoy The Green Man

You have reached your destination.

Gather here for the monthly Win on Waste; to the delight of green thinkers or anyone on the obsessive spectrum you can save all sorts of household items unwanted in your council recycling bins. From stamps to old toothbrushes. At a glance the most popular donations seem to be medicine blister packs and bras. The various items are donated to charities, community groups and artists. Exactly how they use them I am not sure, but ‘follow the milk bottle top’ could be a topic for a blog…

Do you have local community collections?

Round and Round and Upside Down

Which door will you go through to find what is real?

Take a walk…

…round and round

and upside down.

Where will you end up?

All pictures in this week’s blogs guaranteed taken this week and within walking distance of my house. For stories set in or inspired by my local area try one of my short story collections.

Week Three

It turns out to be true. Week Three of chemotherapy you feel back to normal. Perhaps even halfway through Week Two; watering the garden and a little light dead heading turned into a pile of branches in the middle of the lawn grass as I attacked the buddleia ( common or garden variety, well known for colonising railway banks and derelict buildings ) that was taking over the garden.

Even going over to the letter box seemed an adventure, then a walk round the block to confirm I was back in the land of the living…walk to a friend’s house and by Wednesday it was time for a proper walk across the River Stour to meet some writer friends for coffee then back by ferry… 6Km circular walk according to my phone. The weather has been hot and sunny so come along

We missed the Tuesday bargain…

VISIT THE PICTURE GALLERY FOR MORE LOCAL PICTURES

Twenty Four Hours

When I woke up there was a strange man in blue standing by my bed, then I remembered I was not at home. He spoke.

‘The operation went well.’

I felt a sensation of total relaxation, the sort of calm people spend hours doing yoga or meditation to achieve. I looked at the clock, it was 5.45pm. I had not woken up during the operation and it was all over, a quick feel revealed that the right side had been operated on. Now I need do nothing except lie there and relax.

It’s only now that my writer’s mind brings forth alternative scenarios, what might be said to you when you wake up…

‘I’m very sorry, the operation went wrong…’

‘You’re in hospital, you had a massive stroke when you were in the operating theatre six months ago…’

Do you understand, you have dreamt the past thirty years, you are not a writer, you are in a high security mental institution…’

Fortunately it was still Friday evening and I was soon down/along/up? on the surgical ward. The four bed bay was devoid of other patients, I was not by the dusty window, but sitting up had a view of the harbour. Dinner was not an option. I had been amused when my friend told me she managed to eat quarter of an egg sandwich over three hours after her operation and the walk to the bathroom made her sick.  A cup of tea and a nibble of ham sandwich was welcome. Getting out of bed is encouraged, a relief not to be involved with bed pans, but the walk to the bathroom did make me sick.

In the lead up to the hospital visit there had been much discussion on what I would take in with me. There were numerous leaflets written pre and post Covid and pre and post our three local hospitals suddenly deciding to call themselves University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust and changing the phone numbers.

The main message seemed to be Don’t bring too much stuff, Don’t bring valuables. I was certainly not going to bring my brand new iPhone, which according to my younger son who looked it up after my older son bought it for me is very expensive! And I had managed to lose WiFi on it. I had brought my old phone which still had its sim card, but I couldn’t log in to NHS Wi-Fi in the pre op waiting room, because you had to confirm when they sent you an email and I didn’t get the email as I didn’t have any Wi-Fi… Nor was I going to bring any bank cards to log in to the bedside television, wifi etc which I was sure I would not be able to work; the leaflet said just bring small change. My Kindle would be enough entertainment, though it would be a shame to miss Gardener’s World...

I couldn’t imagine they expected every patient, however old or unconscious, to leap out of bed and rummage around in the locker for their smart phone to contact their family as soon as they arrived on the ward. Patient notes have next of kin and a phone number and you only want two messages sent to someone responsible ‘still alive after operation’ and ‘come and fetch me.’

It turned out they did try and ring the hospital but there was confusion over phone numbers and they weren’t to know how late I had gone down to the operating theatre…

A closer view of Poole Harbour

The nurse did ring my daughter so I sat back and relaxed for an evening of blood pressure and pain tablets, each time asked my date of birth, presumably to check I was still alive or still the same patient. One more patient arrived in the opposite bed. The nurse said she would be back at 11.30pm with the anti blood clotting injection so I didn’t bother turning off the light or tying to sleep. At 12.30am she still had not arrived and I wondered at what time my blood would start clotting.

At 1am I had the injection and presumably went to sleep because a cheery voice said ‘Good Morning’ and checked my blood pressure. I was looking forward to breakfast, but it looked very dark for a summer morning. When I asked the time the nurse said quarter to four! After a wander to the bathroom I asked the nursing assistant what time breakfast was – 8am. Then asked if I would like a cup of tea and a biscuit. YES

Custard creams, yuk, bourbon, no..  or  digestives. Yes please. When the mug of tea arrived there was a packet of three Crawfords digestives, I refrained from saying ‘Haven’t you got Macvities? and it turned out to be the best tea and biscuits ever.

Breakfast was a nice bowl of porridge and toast, all I could imagine facing when I ordered it the evening before. The elderly lady opposite was bed bound and mouthed something, I realised she was whispering I’ve had half my bowel removed. I got out of bed and searched for her lost pen unsuccessfully, then lent her mine so she could fill in her menu. Also I had a good look through the dusty window at the views and took photos, my old phone had come in handy for something.

Another view of the outside world

A doctor came round and said I could go home after lunch, so I went and had a wash, dispensed with the hospital gown and put on my new nightie. Any moving around involved lugging the wound drain bottle and the long length of tube I would be attached to for the next week or so.

I had just got back into bed and a different doctor came by and said I could go home right now. The nurse asked if I wanted to ring home. I tried to explain the phone situation and asked if she could ring. A sensible request as she knew the system and I didn’t. Getting from a ward to the ground floor and then endless corridors to the multi storey car park had seemed a logistical nightmare, but my daughter was told to park in one of the few bays near the main entrance and ring the moment she arrived and the nurse would wheel me down. A better exit than my arrival in my son’s builder’s van. On the way from the ward we passed the machine for purchasing access to the television which had remained perched up by the ceiling above my bed. I hadn’t even needed the small change as in Covid times no one comes round with trolleys and newspapers etc

My departure was exactly 24 hours since we had arrived thirty minutes early the day before and about 21 hours since I had gone to the theatre. Sunday would bring the district nurse on the first of the daily visits...

Advent Calendar – Saturday Twelfth of December

(2) Photogog | Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/photogog

Today’s window opens on a digital Christmas Card with a visit to Cyberspouse’s Facebook page. He wasn’t interested in Facebook, but he did create a website and a Facebook page for his photography and digital images. The last picture he put on his page was a Christmas card. There are lots of other interesting pictures worth looking at on his page. The Christmas picture was taken at Kingston Lacy, Dorset, a lovely National Trust historic house with beautiful grounds worth exploring at all times of the year.

Friday Flash Fiction 575 – Bonfire

I walked down the hill to Tuckton Village and passed boarded up shops; as I rounded the bend I saw the guards at the bridge over the River Stour turning people away; it was true, we still had twelve hours before we left the European Union, but Remainer movement was restricted more each day. There was still a chance; I slipped past the ruins of Tuckton Tea Gardens and joined a straggle of people wandering aimlessly, their eyes darting to the river. One man suddenly dashed to an empty boat, struggling to untie the mooring, a shot rang out and the rest of us dived for cover. Round the bend we kept to the trees, it was quiet, we all had the same goal.
‘Fifteen pounds each, this is my last trip!’ whispered the Wick ferryman.
I was the last to squeeze on board, we lay low in the water. I proffered two notes, my last cash now the dispensers were gone. I doubted I would need them; no annual literary dinner now all the Christchurch hotels were commandeered; our writers’ group was unlikely to last another four weeks. As we landed across the river I scrambled to get off, whilst others struggled to get on. They looked desperate, carrying as many belongings as possible, waving wads of money; the only words on their lips ‘Isle of Wight’. I watched as the little boat set off down river, things were worse than I thought. My fears were confirmed when I heard the bell of the Priory tolling. Many people were still around, madness in the air; we surged towards the high street and saw a spiral of smoke rising up.

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Brexit Extreme had grown in power, disconcerting the respectable conservative Brexiteers, confounding the confused abstainers and putting terror in the hearts of Remainers. Hiding amongst the crowds, I made my way towards a bonfire in the centre of the road. The rabble were rushing out of the Regent Centre tossing paintings on the fire. Outside the tourist office a guard urged people to destroy the seditious pamphlets inside. As I edged along the pavement towards the library, guards and civilians came out carrying piles of books, throwing them gleefully on to the blaze. Anything that smacked of elitism or liberalism was being destroyed. I looked up, from an open window fluttered white sheets of paper, the precious work of our writers’ group. I tried to catch them.
A guard spoke gruffly to me ‘You don’t belong to the writers’ group do you?’
‘No, No of course not’ I stuttered, moving on.
Someone fleeing from the library, shielding their eyes from the glare, shouted to me.
‘Aren’t you from the writers’ group?’
‘No, you must be thinking of someone else.’
I tucked my blue scarf with its gold stars deeper under my collar and fled into Saxon Square away from the heat; coming towards me were two members of my writing group; I put my collar up, turned and slipped back into the crowds. I heard a cheer go up, someone was coming out of the Regent Centre carrying aloft the Wooden Quill Poetry Award; he tossed it into the flames. I patted my pocket, inside was the memory stick with all my writing on; was I too late to get to the Isle of Wight?

 

A second anthology from the author of Dark and Milk; some tales are light, others very dark and you will not know which are which until it is too late! Visit places you may or may not find on a map, discover the Hambourne Chronicles and meet people who may not be what they seem.

Wish You Were Here

I started collecting picture post cards when I was eight and still buy them on holiday to send to the oldest and youngest in the family; people like getting mail through their letter box, including Pete who blogs as beetleypete. When he asked if people still sent postcards bloggers started sending them, as you can see on his blog post.

https://beetleypete.com/2019/08/31/postcards-from-blogging-friends/

‘If anyone else would like to post one to me, you can read my address easily, and your card will be featured in Part Two.
Thanks again to all of you who took the time and trouble to send me a card.’

When we were away in Whitby I bought an extra card and as I sat down to write ( and here’s my confession – I don’t get around to writing postcards till about two weeks after returning ) and saw the piece of paper on which I had written his address lying on the table, it gave me an idea for a dark story. The names and places have been changed to protect the innocent! Thanks to Pete for the idea.

19

Detective Inspector Greaves stepped through the front door, he needed to go no further to see the body. The scene was bloodless, but any impression that the woman had died of natural causes was cast aside when another step revealed a large syringe stuck in the back of her neck. Why would the killer leave the evidence when it could have been the perfect murder?

‘Where’s the husband?’ Greaves asked the uniformed officer.

‘In the kitchen, doing the washing up Sir.’

‘What! Crime scene, evidence… did you stop and think?’

‘No Sir, he said his wife liked to have everything clean and tidy if they were having visitors.’

Further discussion was pointless, he sent the officer outside to keep a little band of neighbours at bay and stepped carefully round the body to make his way to the kitchen, where a middle aged man was vigorously polishing a glass.

‘She always liked to leave the house tidy when we went out, in case anything happened to us while we were out and the police had to break in and…’

‘Mr… Mr. Stanton isn’t it? I need to ask you a few questions… When you came home was the front door locked?’

‘Yes, everything looked normal until I unlocked the door.’

‘And where were you today?’

‘With the chaps, four of us, been away on a three day golf break, they dropped me off first, drove off before I got inside.’

‘So they can confirm that. Did you call your wife while you were away?’

‘Yesterday morning.’

‘Was that the last time you spoke or had any contact, no emails, whatsapp?’

‘Yes, she was fine, enjoying the peace, no sign… who… it doesn’t make sense…’

For the first time the man showed emotion, but shock could do strange things. When Greaves had sat the man in the police car with two officers he returned alone to gain an impression of the home and the lives of these two people. An ordinary house in a quiet road that had never drawn attention to itself before; nothing could be assumed, but on the face of it this was a bizarre senseless murder.

In the dining room he spotted a piece of paper on the polished table; an address, no phone number or email.

Geoff Jones, Cowslip Lane, Tweedley, Norfolk, NR19 2D3.

Greaves checked the address book sitting neatly by the house phone and found no entry for a Geoff Jones or anyone in Norfolk.

auto automobile blur buildings
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Back at the police station Mr. Stanton was safely installed in an interview room, alibis checked, background checked. Inspector Greaves started with the only piece of evidence.

‘Who is Geoff Jones?’

‘Never heard of him.’

‘Has your wife got friends or relatives in Norfolk?’

‘No, she’s never even been to Norfolk.’

‘Mrs. Stanton, was she still working or retired?’

‘Retired, or she reckoned she was still working, did stuff on the computer, goodness knows what, I don’t go on the internet, but she was happy dabbling with her writing, left me in peace to watch what I liked on television.’

‘As routine procedure we will seize… er take your wife’s computer, I assume you have no objections?’

‘Well she won’t be needing it will she… oh God, I can’t believe this is happening…’

At that moment a female officer knocked on the door with a cup of tea, though they were supposed to have equality Greaves was glad to leave her to deal sympathetically with the overwrought husband. He had work to do.

Back in the office he handed out tasks to his small team. ‘Check this address and if it’s genuine get onto Norfolk Police and ask them to send someone round.’

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In Cowslip Lane Geoff Jones was enjoying the evening news; the doorbell took him and the dog by surprise. On the doorstep stood a young man, trying to edge inside out of the torrential rain. He showed a warrant card.

‘Mr. Geoff Jones?’

‘Yes, that’s me, oh god, has something happened to my wife, no they send uniform for that don’t they?’

‘No, just a routine enquiry. Do you know a Mrs. Rita Stanton of Mulberry Close, Sandbourne, Dorset?’

‘Dorset, I don’t know anyone in Dorset.’

‘Are you, er do you live alone?’

‘No, my wife’s away for a few days at her sister’s.’

‘Might she know Mrs. Stanton or anyone in Dorset?’

‘NO, look what is this about?’

Andy’s first day as a detective constable wasn’t going well so far.

‘We’re making enquiries about a murder I’m afraid. Have you been outside the village in the last two days, work, visiting?’

Andy was gratified to see Geoff Jones look distinctly nervous.

‘No, I’m retired, well a writer actually, blogger; all I’ve been up to is taking Rufus on his two hour walks and doing my blogs.’

‘Can anyone confirm that?’

‘I haven’t seen a soul, no one else has been out in this dreadful wet weather, but what on earth has any of this to do with me?’

The young detective felt suspicion creeping into his bones, who would take a dog out for two hours in the torrential rain? As he tried to edge further into the hallway and avoid the very large dog, he got a glimpse into the front room. On every shelf and available surface were propped picture postcards.

‘You must have a lot of friends Mr. Jones, a lot of friends that go on holiday?’

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The next police visit to Geoff’s house was in the morning. This time Andy was accompanied by a search warrant and an inspector from Dorset Police, who had driven up overnight. Fortuitously they met the postman at the door, with a postcard from Dorset. Jones’ computer was taken away, Jones himself was taken away and all the postcards collected up.

6

In the interview room Geoff Jones protested his innocence, though he hadn’t actually been arrested. ‘Blogging friends, I wrote a post about picture post cards and followers kept sending them.’

Greaves left him to stew for a while and went back to the office to see how enquiries were going and stared at the postcard posted in Sandbourne, Dorset.

Wish you Were Here!

Best Wishes from Rita Stanton ( Scribbletide )

 He tried to curb the enthusiasm of the young detective.

‘We may have barged in too quickly, if this poor man is totally innocent we have some explaining to do. The card seems to prove what he told us about his followers. What have you found on the internet?’

‘Jones was telling the truth about the blogging and the post cards, what he didn’t mention was that a while ago he wrote a serialised story about a chap who wanted to commit the perfect murder.’