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.

Advent Calendar – Thursday Third of December

Bethlehem Down

Christmas always has a touch of winter melancholy, especially this year and one of my favourite carols for enjoying a touch of melancholy is Bethlehem Down, made more interesting and poignant by the story behind it

Peter Warlock was the pseudonymn of Philip Heseltine (1894–1930), his choice of Warlock reflected his interest in occult practices!   Bethlehem Down was created in a mood of flippancy due to the impecunious state of Warlock and his poet friend Bruce Blunt – both notorious for their Bohemian behaviour. They hoped to earn enough money to get suitably drunk at Christmas; the carol was completed in a few days and published (words and music) in The Daily Telegraph on Christmas Eve.  Their plan had worked and they had ‘an immortal carouse on the proceeds’.

But Warlock’s career as a composer, music scholar and critic was cut short; towards the end of his life he became depressed by a loss of creative inspiration and died in his London flat of coal gas poisoning in 1930, probably suicide.

Bethlehem Down – YouTubehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=yefnj5kvJTw

But elves do not bring melancholy with them – though don’t you hate them hanging around in the kitchen when you are trying to cook?

Advent Calendar – Wednesday Second of December

Covid Free Zone

The weather is grey and damp here so what better than an Australian Christmas tree to brighten us up.

But the elf had a trip to the beach hut yesterday where we had glorious sunshine. He is looking forward to some Christmas shopping as we are now out of Lockdown Two and in Tier Two, we can’t visit anybody, but can go to non essential shops, so let me know what you want…

Friday Flash Fiction – Staying Alert

Vivienne held the phone away from her ear, she was tiring of her daughter’s pontifications.
‘Yes Julia, I am staying alert, but the Prime Minister’s waffle was totally confusing, not just to me.’
‘All you have to do Mother is carry on the same, all over seventies still have to stay at home. You can go for a walk, there is no other reason for you to go out; James is organising your shopping and all your little clubs are closed.’
Vivienne gritted her teeth, Julia’s mother-in-law was a magistrate and chairwoman of something important, she didn’t go to ‘little clubs’. She tried to veer the conversation in another direction, though it was hard to talk about anything except The Virus these days.
‘So what do you think about the school business?’
‘Ridiculous, we’re keeping Jason and Jacintha at home, they are doing really well with the home schooling.’
‘Have they learnt to write letters? I haven’t had a thank you for their birthday presents yet.’
‘They have been busy with creative writing, such imaginations; they claim to have found a family of elves in the garden… got to go, I’ve got a conference call coming in.’

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Vivienne’s hand was shaking as she put down her phone. She imagined Julia’s reaction if she told her she had seen a tiny elf in her garden. Of course it must have been her imagination; too much isolation, too much time spent in the garden, though one could never spend too much time outside, especially with James clumping around indoors. But she did credit her son with putting her on Instagram, it was amazing that her new smart phone took such good photographs. Her pictures of flowers were getting quite a few Likes and she was appreciating the finer details of the blooms that she had not noticed before. That’s how she had seen him first, in a photo; pansies have faces, but this was no flower face smiling at her. She scrolled through the pictures she would certainly not put on Instagram. A little green arm, a pointy shoe poking out from the leaves. A six inch elf dressed in green was obviously not real, a trick of the light in the verdant foliage. Vivienne chuckled to herself; if he had been dressed in red and white stripes, like those strange little people the twins were obsessed with putting on shelves at Christmas, then she would have known she was not dreaming.

18
Without thinking she tiptoed to the wild corner of the garden, her haven created for butterflies and bees, not mythical creatures. A noise startled her and the dreadful cat from next door shot out from under a bush, across the lawn and up onto the fence. She felt a stab of fear, birds were not the only creatures in danger from the cat, she tried to dismiss the image of thin green legs dangling out of the cat’s mouth.
For goodness sake Viv, pull yourself together, if James and Julia knew what was going on in your mind they would have you in a care home full of Covid cases.
If she knelt down in the soft grass James would assume she was taking photographs, not looking for an elf. She must keep perfectly still. How quiet it was, no planes or traffic in the distance. The sun was on her back, her face in the shade, that’s how she knew it was not the sun in her eyes. There he was, standing boldly smiling up at her, perhaps knowing he was safe from the cat while she was there. Dressed in green, his face a chalky white in contrast to his rosebud lips and pink cheeks. She didn’t dare move, nor would it be right to let her mobile phone come between them, scaring him or intruding on this special moment. Now he was laughing, was there a tiny sound or was it mirth in his expression? No wonder, she must look like an ugly ogre to him with his tiny perfect features…
‘Mother, Motherrr, where are you, someone on the house phone for you…’
The tiny creature’s face flashed with fear and with a sad wave he slipped back into the undergrowth.

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Silly Saturday – Secret Santa

I am thrilled to have as my guest author today tra la… Santa! He has found time in his busy schedule to answer 5.5 questions. But best to read his interview when your little ones are safely out of the way if you don’t want Santa’s secrets spoiled.

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Father..ur Mr. Christmas…  Saint Ni… how do you like to be addressed?

Santa will do fine, though my friends call me Old Nick.

I don’t think many people will know you are also a prolific author, I guess you have to fill in the long months between Christmases somehow.

Until now I don’t think anybody did know and as you have so few followers I think my writing will continue to be one of my best kept secrets.

So it must be the creative satisfaction rather than sales figures that motivates you.

Yes indeed, I have plenty of other money making schemes on the go, writing is for fun and now I can self publish and don’t have to employ scribes I get a great deal of satisfaction.

The big question is what have you written, what is your favourite genre, heart warming fantasy I assume, lots of cute elves?

Why don’t you let ME answer your questions, this is why I so rarely give interviews… There is nothing cute about elves, evil, fiendish creatures… that’s why I love them. But my novels are mostly about human beings, pathetic creatures. Write about what you know, don’t they say? Well I know plenty about humans, been studying them for long enough and my novels explore what has gone wrong with the human race and why I have no intention of sorting it for them.

Oh, er that sounds very deep, can you describe how that pans out in your latest novel?

Daddy Juel – Daddy Juel whizzes round in his atomic powered sleigh visiting first world countries on Christmas Eve and at each comfy home atomises all the presents and festive food. He then bravely travels, dodging missiles and drones, to every war zone and refugee camp and rematerializes the gifts and food for the deserving, rather like Robin Hood, another character I created. Daddy Juel reserves a few goodies and returns to give them to the homeless while having a good laugh as the greedy and smug wake up on Christmas morning to find their larders empty and a few pieces of fossil fuel where their presents had been piled.  

Dark humour or gritty fiction? I can’t wait to read it. Thanks you so much for visiting. If book lovers want to find your novels do you write under your real name, Santa?

Santa is of course an anagram of my REAL name, a fact a few folk on Facebook have remarked upon; I have an Amazon Author Page, or they can find me on the dark web…