The Game of Life – 22-1-19

Warning: Do you dare to play the game of life? If you don’t want to read about illness and death or you dislike dark humour please avoid this blog, but I hope you will continue to visit my Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday blogs.


 The Waiting Game

General outpatients is a pleasant place, light colours, sometimes quiet, today busy. Our oncologist is here and not at the Jigsaw building because she is from the other hospital. A mute television with subtitles is playing afternoon programmes and we are just in time for Doctors! We already  know one result from last week’s scan, Cyberspouse had a couple of blood clots so will have to have daily injections for six months; a choice  between a district nurse and DIY propelled him to have a go and it’s quite simple.

We progress to the chairs outside the little rooms, all the chairs are full. As he has been well and eating well we are feeling positive and prepared to be positive whatever. Results are mixed, different chemotherapy, but as his health is good he can start immediately.

At the Jigsaw it is always jolly, the reception desk has a friendly greeting for everyone and the whole place is very calm, we never seem to wait long. Each patient has their own bay with low walls, there is background music.



The Retirement Game

Life goes on for Cyberspouse much the same as it has since he retired not that long ago, recycled teenager days. Out with the chaps or out and about with other couples ( the cosy world that not all get to enjoy ). Can you spend a whole day  at Ikea? Yes. ‘Did you get the two for one voucher for fish and chips?’ Yes…



The Number Game

Everybody seems to be talking about the nineties, not the 1990’s but the tenth decade that some reach. My mother is the same age as The Queen, though she doesn’t get out and about as much, her mind and hearing are as sharp as Her Majesty’s. A lot of bloggers have been talking about their mothers of a similar age, my friend is a full time carer for hers. On our RVS Books on Wheels round we have four visits, five very different folk but all in their tenth decade. Mr. and Mrs are in a tiny retirement flat, different taste in books. Our next lady reads a book a day; we take twenty library books every three weeks and she only likes murder mystery. She lives by herself, has had times in hospitals, but ignored their warnings of dire consequences if she didn’t have this or that done and in her early nineties has outlived a daughter and a son-in-law.  She says she is never lonely, happy by herself. Our gentleman lives in a nursing home, the sort made of houses stuck together, where you fall down sloping corridors and trip where the houses have been joined up, but the staff are friendly, it feels homely. He is completely blind and has talking books, always has a story to tell about when he was a barrister in the House of Lords. This week one of the staff told us he had gone downhill since Christmas, not because of shingles, but because a clairvoyant once told him he would die when he was 96, his age now. For a very educated man this seems odd, but when we see him he has certainly changed.


Ninety Seven is the age of the Duke of Edinburgh, in the news this week, knocking Brexit off the agenda for a few hours, after his miraculous escape unhurt after a car crash. Not on the Sandringham estate, but out on a busy A road. A little while back when Cyberspouse was in Windsor, strolling up the Long Walk with his camera near the castle, along came a carriage and fine black horses driven by the Duke of Edinburgh. The Duke called out ‘Can’t you find anything better to bloody photograph?’ Cyberspouse replied that he was only snapping the horses.  The girl grooms on the back laughed. When I heard the story I was surprised the duke was still carriage driving, while other people of his age are on their mobility scooters or housebound,  it seems he does not intend to stop driving of any sort yet. There has been fervoured discussion as to what age people should be compelled to give up; whatever the cause of the accident, it was every parent’s and grandparent’s nightmare as there was a baby in the back of the other car, luckily unhurt. Public indignation increased when a new Landrover was delivered the next day ( a gift perhaps, as the publicity was a gift to Landrover, how safe the vehicle must be to roll over and not harm the driver ) the duke was soon driving again and being cautioned by the police for not wearing a seat belt. For some, life goes on…



Silly Saturday – Strange Stanzas


I’m not averse to writing verse,

Or the occasional stanza.

Chapters, blog, Captain’s Log;

Language is a bonanza.


                                  Bus Stop


He doesn’t have a shiny car,

I met him on the bus.

He asked me if I came from far,

Upstairs was only us.


Next morning at my stop we met,

He asked me where I worked.

Lunchtime in the park was set,

The sun shone and we talked.


He walked me to the bus stop,

When my day’s work was done.

He took my hand, we sat up top

And soon my heart was won.




I hear a shout,

I turn about.

Two figures dark,

Out of the park.

Two shadows meet

Across the street.

Loud voices talking,

Best keep walking.

Across the road

Cigarettes glowed.

Could take a chance,

Another glance.

Calling, waving,

Are they raving?

Tough drug dealers

Or car stealers?

Leather jackets

What’s their racket?

Home no nearer

Voices clearer.

‘Hey Mum wait,

You’re out late!’



Silly Saturday – Happy House Hunting

Handy guide to Estateagentspeak


Handy for public transport.dscn4238.jpg

DSCN6517Spacious parking.5

Copy (2) of P1050070Riverside dwelling.P1040958



Sea views.


Not overlooked.


Roof Garden.

P1040415                                 Gated Community.

P1040407Elegant mid terrace house.


Handy for local restaurants.

DSCN4211Large double bedroom.


Mobile Home.


Buy Off Plan – exciting new development.


Great potential.




Friday Flash Fiction – Dreadlocks and the Four Bears

Delia answered the phone promptly, it was her agent.

I’ve got you a star role, back to the cinema.

Initial excitement was followed by disappointment.

You won’t have to leave London, it’s a voice over.

It still rankled with Delia that she had been passed over for Marigold Hotel.


No, no CGI.

‘A spy film?’

No computer generated image, like Toy Story, Paddington Bear…

Delia wondered how much worse it could get. ‘A children’s film?’

Nothing wrong with that, all the stars do them now.

‘Who else is doing it?’

Tamara James.


You know, she sent that Twitter and hasn’t worked since.


On Thursday Delia turned up at what her agent called a bijou studio. She had not dared ask any more details, she could not afford to turn it down, but the young strangely attired young man who greeted her was friendly, enthusiastic and solicitous.

‘First one here, great, now how much do you know about the film?’

‘Nothing, I like surprises, this is just a bit of fun for me, I do like to support up and coming talent.’

‘…and we are very honoured to have you on board. Basically we’re going back to basics, a classic tale not yet retold, want to get in before Disney; Goldilocks and The Three Bears.’

Delia laughed. ‘I know it’s only a voice over, but I think my voice may be a little too mature for Goldilocks.’

He joined in the laughter. ‘Brunhilda… the brown bear, not the Valkyrie; you will be magnificent as Mother Bear.’

The smile froze on Delia’s face. ‘Who is playing Father Bear?’

‘There is no father bear, we have to reflect the modern family.’

‘I don’t understand, there have to be three bears.’

‘Yes, Big Mama Bear, that’s you, Mama Bear and Baby Bear.’

‘Very funny and how did they manage to produce baby bear?’


‘I thought this was a children’s film, now you’re telling me the family has aids?’

‘No, artificial insemination by donor, Big Mama’s egg, Polo, the only gay Polar Bear in the Arctic, was the sperm donor and Pandora, Mama Bear, was the surrogate mother.’

‘Polar bears in the wood, this gets more and more bizarre.’

‘We have to show diversity.’

‘So what is Pandora?’

‘A Panda of course.’

‘Pandas are not real bears.’

‘I know, but we can’t be seen to be prejudiced. Pandora escaped from the zoo, it wasn’t working out with her husband, this was her only chance of becoming a mother.’

‘So what is the cub, a Teddy Bear?’

‘I love your sense of humour; I’ll show you the first rushes on the lap top.’


Despite her reservations, Delia found herself taken by the lively colourful characters. ‘It is rather lovely, someone must be good at drawing. How sweet, a coffee coloured cub who’s afraid of the water and refuses to learn to fish. What’s happening now?’

‘The family have gone down to the lake in the woods, where Polo has lived since being ostracized by the Arctic community. Every Sunday they invite him back for breakfast, the access visit to see his son.’

‘Leaving the porridge to cool off?’

‘Vegie Kedgeree actually.’

Delia was getting into the spirit of the film. ‘Can I see what’s going on back at the cabin? …who on earth is that?’

‘We could hardly have the stereotype young blonde girl, that is Dannie Dreadlocks, she’s left home because her parents won’t take her to the gender reassignment clinic. We have to make sure the film is inclusive of the GLBT community.’

‘What has any of this to do with sandwiches?’

‘Sandwiches? Oh, you’re so funny Delia, you mean BLT, bacon lettuce and tomato. I’m talking about gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender.’

‘I think you are making this film too inclusive, can’t you just have a nice story?’

‘It will be, most of this stuff is back story, only the parents will understand. Let’s skip to the next scene, we’ve already added the sound track.’

Delia watched as the androgynous Dannie Dreadlocks skipped up the wooden stairs inside the cosy cabin, complaining in a strong Glaswegian accent that they should have gone to Ikea. In the first room she found a tiny wooden bed and sat down, but it snapped in half. In the big room she found the enormous four poster bed that Big Mama and Mama shared. At that moment a huge shadow filled the room and Dannie turned to see Big Mama blocking the doorway. The frame froze on the lap top screen.

‘Oh, what happens next?’

‘We haven’t written that part yet, we thought we’d let you all go down the Mike Leigh route and make up the script.’












Friday Flash Fiction – Novel

‘Are you alright Laura, you look worried.’

‘Oh Jason, I wasnt expecting you. Yes I’m okay, just having a genre crisis. She doesn’t know whether she’s writing Orange Booker or chic lit. I don’t know whether to talk about my tortured past or shopping.’

Jason massaged her shoulders. ‘I know the feeling; am I the romantic lead or the hapless victim in a darkly comic thriller? We just have to go with the flow.’

A sharp rap on the door broke into their thoughts. Jason opened the door and a man of about forty, with a crumpled suit and close cropped hair, marched in uninvited.

‘Sergeant Jenkins, CID; am I addressing Mr. Jason Wood?’

‘Yes’ replied Jason curtly.

‘Do you own a vehicle?’


The sergeant frowned. ‘That’s one line of enquiry gone. Do you recognise the man in this photo?’


‘His name would be…?’

‘I only know him by sight’ replied Jason, suddenly gasping as he felt a sharp pain in his head. He sat down and closed his eyes, trying to ward off the dizziness. Laura gently laid her hand on his arm.

‘Its okay, she just wiped that scene off the screen, you’ll feel better in a moment. Come on, we’ve got to get to the tube station.’

‘Why, where are we going?’

‘I don’t know,’ replied Laura ‘but she wants us out of the office.’



Ten minutes later Jason and Laura were running down the escalator, squeezing past others less hurried. As they approached the archway into the tunnel they heard the rush of wind and squealing of brakes that heralded the arrival of another tube train.

‘Mind the doors.’

They were too late to push through the jostling crowd on the platform. Jason swore in frustration, but Laura pointed to the indicator board.

Circle Line 2 minutes

‘That will do, but I don’t know how she expects us to be there in ten minutes.’

‘That’s her problem, not ours’ Laura reassured him.

The couple squeezed onto the next train and stood pressed together near the door. Laura smelt the sweet scent of aftershave and sweat; she smiled to herself, she was going to enjoy this chapter. They clattered along and at each station it was a struggle to stay on the train as passengers pushed past getting on and off. At last Jason motioned to the door and grabbed her hand as they stumbled onto the platform. They surged with the crowd to the long escalator and finally arrived at the station exit, but as they stepped with relief out onto the street a familiar face appeared, Sergeant Jenkins.

‘Perhaps you would both care to accompany me to the police station.’

The couple hesitated, tempted to make a dash for it, but settled for playing it cool and followed the policeman to his office.

‘Don’t know why you two are so nervous, I just need your help; private detectives can be very useful.’

Jason and Laura looked at each other in surprise, but before they could protest he handed them a piece of paper and a set of car keys. Jason frowned as he read.

‘Cornwall? We’ll need a map book.’

‘Sat-nav in the car,’ replied Jenkins, ushering them out of the door ‘you’ve got my mobile number.’

‘What are we letting ourselves in for?’ exclaimed Lara as they got into the car.

‘I don’t know, but I’m up for it,’ Jason winked ‘perhaps a weekend in the country is just what we need to get to know each other better.’

The sat-nav voice was irritating, but the long journey was pleasant.

‘Strange,’ said Laura ‘I’d forgotten it was autumn.’

‘What happened to summer?’ replied her companion.


As they drew up outside a little cottage the couple felt almost in a holiday mood. The key was under the pot and they looked around carefully as they entered.

‘What are we supposed to do now’ pondered Jason.

‘I remember’ smiled Laura putting her hands on his chest.

He wrapped his arms around her.

‘Oh Jason, I’m really warming to this scene, I’m glad we came here.’

She felt his hands ardently exploring her body and began to undo the buttons of his shirt. He slid his hands inside her blouse.

‘How far are we supposed to go?’ he murmured.

She did not answer, instead she closed her eyes and let her hands slide down further.

Suddenly Jason clasped her hands and pushed her gently away.

‘What’s the matter?’ she asked huskily.

‘I’m not sure, its too soon… I’m sorry, I think Im suffering from performance anxiety.’

Frustrated Lara turned away. ‘You’ll just have to fake it then, otherwise we’ll have to start the whole chapter over again.’

The tension was broken by the sound of the door being thrust open violently. A wild eyed scruffy man waved a pistol at them. They stood paralysed with fear.

‘You won’t get hurt if you just tell me where the stuff is’ said the stranger.

‘We don’t know anything,’ pleaded Jason ‘let her go, she hasn’t done anything wrong.’

The gunman turned his head as they heard the sound of tyres on gravel.

‘Put the gun down’ said Sergeant Jenkins, standing in the doorway, unarmed.


The stranger pointed the pistol and fired. The policeman lay crumpled in the doorway as the gunman stepped over his body and escaped. Jason fumbled for his mobile, while Lara knelt in the spreading pool of blood. She tried to apply pressure to the gaping hole in his side.

‘Just hang in there. No that sounds like an American movie. Don’t try to talk, the ambulance will be here soon.’

‘Laura, where’s that piece of paper, the control room want to know where we are?’

She held the hand of the policeman as he struggled to speak.

‘Sergeant, we don’t even know your first name.’

‘I dont have one,’ he groaned ‘we never do in novels.’

‘Of course, I’m sorry, I should have realised.’

‘Jason, tell them to hurry, we haven’t got much time’ she pleaded as the sergeant closed his eyes.

She prayed someone would press SAVE before it was too late.


Novel is one of the flash fiction tales in Someone Somewhere







Friday Flash Fiction – Roger

Roger had enjoyed his exhilarating swim in the sea, but a breeze had sprung up and the others wanted to stroll through the gardens into town. They dodged other holiday makers, jumped over the rails onto the lawns and joined in a ball game with a group of teenagers. When they reached the square, someone suggested ice cream, but there was so much going on it was difficult to spot a kiosk. They weaved their way through shoppers and families, past a carousel, avoided a man singing out of tune and stared at a human statue, his gold skin glistening with sweat. They took in the exotic scents of the international food stalls, but as the sun reappeared from behind a cloud they still longed for ice cream.


It was at this moment that Roger saw her, blond hair, perfect figure, alluring expression, but as he edged closer, away from the others, he detected a cheap scent and wondered if the sun had affected his brain. Unlike the human statue who was real, she was lifelike, but lifeless, just a model. Then Roger had an idea, it would be a laugh, the others would certainly laugh. He would pretend to believe she was real. Close up, her unblinking soulful brown eyes gazed at him; he paused for a moment then commenced the game. His lips touched her soft neck and for a moment he could believe she was real.


Everything seemed to happen at once; Lucy watched her boyfriend and brother approaching, laden with ice creams, her little sister waved from the carousel, she heard a man shouting, a child crying. It was at this moment she realised that if she wasn’t holding Roger’s lead, who was?


Geoffrey’s morning with the ‘Sponsor a Guide Dog’ stall had been more rewarding than anticipated. The cuddly life sized Labrador attracted more attention than a real dog. He had forgiven his mother for landing him with the task when he realised how many attractive young women, in skimpy holiday outfits, stopped to stroke ‘Cindy the Wonder Dog.’ It was while he was chatting to one of these young ladies that the commotion broke out; an enormous shaggy dog had seized the helpless Cindy by the throat and was shaking her with what could only be described as blood lust. Children were crying, stuffing was flying. This situation had not been covered by the guidelines for volunteers.


‘Roger, Roger, here boy… Daddy’s got you an ice cream…’

A young woman was shrieking at the dog, but he took no notice.

A curious crowd had circled round the now demolished stand, but parted like The Red Sea when the wild dog dashed for freedom, with the eviscerated, no longer cuddly Cindy in his jaws.

A young man made a grab for the trailing lead, but fell headlong in a splatter of ice cream. Suddenly the dog halted, dropped its prey, sniffed the air and returned, tail wagging, to lap up the ice cream.

Roger wagged his tail furiously, his friends had enjoyed the joke so much they had given him all their ice cream.



Help! I’m Living with a Blogger

You are sitting watching the football cup final you’ve been looking forward to all week, or catching up with your favourite soap and a voice keeps disturbing your enjoyment with remarks such as the following.

Fifteen Likes

I’ve been reblogged in German

My first Hugs

Oh, another new follower

Seven flags, the map’s looking good this evening, Palestinian Territories, Thailand…

You are living with a blogger and need to get help.


If you are both concentrating on a Scandi Noir drama your beloved blogger will still sneak a look at their phone or iPad and ruin the tension by missing the sub titles and asking what they just said.

Kindly ask them if they would like a cup of coffee before the news comes on and there will be no immediate response.

 Oh sorry, I was just making an intelligent comment on someone’s blog.

It’s important to try and draw your blogger back into reality and engage in conversation. ‘When shall we invite Debs and Dave round for dinner?’

What? Hang on, I’ve got to reply to this comment.

To check if they are listening to you at all try some test remarks. ‘I’ve ordered that £4,000 pound camera / designer handbag, Amazon are delivering it tomorrow, will you be in?’


Or be more drastic. ‘I’m leaving you.’

If they remain glued to their screen or start laughing it’s likely they have not listened to you for at least a week.


A get away from it all holiday may be a good idea. But tell Blogger the taxi / train / plane will be two hours earlier than it actually is, because they will not pack until the last moment, too busy scheduling blogs so their ten followers won’t miss them.

 At last you will be sitting looking out over a beautiful lake or more adventurously climbing a mountain pass. Look behind to see if Blogger is still following you; there is no sign of them. They have to keep stopping to take photos for the blog series they are planning on mountain walking.

Later, when you are sipping your cocktails and warming up in front of a roaring fire or cooling off on a tropical veranda, you will hear a cry of anguish, they can’t get any wifi. You remind them their blogs are scheduled, but they still want to check if the blogs have gone on, if they have any Likes or comments. They also have to read the blogs of the two thousand people they follow.

In the luxury hotel room you can’t afford, because your other half has given up their job to write full time, you hope for romance, but the starry look in Blogger’s eyes is due to the brilliant idea they have just had for a totally original blog.


The only way to survive living with a blogger is to join them. If you only go on line to order your Tesco shop or book concert tickets you need to expand your horizons. Join Facebook and make friends with hundreds of strangers, then regale details of their boring lives to your other half when they are trying to write their next blog. Or you could go on Instagram, that’s very addictive; soon you will be obsessed with taking photographs and getting Likes and followers and you won’t be talking to each other at all except on line.

But maybe such drastic action won’t be necessary. Either the novelty will wear off and Blogger will be feeling bloggered and unblogged, or they will gain thousands of followers from all around the world, including North Korea and will be so busy answering clever comments with intelligent answers, they won’t have time to give you a running commentary.