Suggestions and Stonking Good Stocking Gifts Inside.

Dark visions horror anthology Buy Here

I won’t lie, I may be biased slightly … because I have a flash fiction in this book. But, and the but is huge; I am very proud to be part of this Anthology. Stuffed full of stories; some you can read in a snatch, others that fill a lunch break. All will fill your thirst for the weird, the creepy and the scares. Ask your local shop to get this best-selling horror anthology in stock. Order it from the library or purchase it from Amazon. Either way, you won’t regret giving, reading or receiving this gem. Twenty-seven Authors and 34 stories to stir and startle your imagination. Ideal for the unique individual in your life. The quirky shopper that wants to be the best present giver. The toilet reader. Ideal for the Allotment snuggler; sat in solace in the shed. For the wise man (maybe three of them)๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜‚ escaping the world with this book before bed.

NEWS FLASH! any moment now this book will be available in audio I will pop a link here as soon as it is live.

My next choice is this. A fantastic little piece of kit that will thrill any guitar playing person. It has to be a must for a stocking I am filling.

https://drummondandhammett.com/product/accessories/trans-amp/

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A great place for a special gift Drummond and Hammett make some amazingly unique items; the whiskey tumblers above are only one of many hand-made items on offer.

RIGHT HERE

This Gift stop is for …

All writers and readers

or library feeders,

sketchers and scribblers

and stationary givers,

drawers and doodlers

Fiddlers and stencilers,

And collectors

Or pencilers.

A small niche company in Ireland who makes exquisit gifts one of my favorites are her hand rolled pencils Press Here to find my favorites.

Next is a doozy of a gift.

Geoff LePard’s Book

Apprenticed To My Mother

Buy Here
Geoff painted a clear picture documenting the lives of his Mother and family. Her quirks and idiosyncratic ways are brought to life with carefully chosen words. His words have you standing in the corner of the kitchen; watching her show her boys how to cook. The story is punctuated with his father’s extraordinary poetry; received by his wife throughout their lives. It paints a picture of a time past and fortitude shown. It has laugh out loud moments like the comments she made and the diplomacy she fooled you into believing she used. A cracking good tale one well worth reading. Told beautifully by a loving son, and a damned good storyteller.

The cushion in my photo is a fluke, but Geoff mentions his Mothers dabble with Beekeeping so I thought it apt in the circumstances. The cushion is mine purchased from Dunelm. A super stocking filler, even those surgical stocking wearers who we can never quite please … will wipe a tear and cast a smile at the strength and the love in this book. Three generations of my family have thoroughly enjoyed it so far. This book will Grace many a comfy seat, accompanied by a slice of perfectly baked lemon drizzle cake.

My final gift idea is time.

It doesn’t have a price-tag because it is priceless.

Offer time, Pick a date and time; time to sit, and listen. Share a cuppa with someone who is alone, share a story or two.

I owe you two babysits written in the Christmas card. To give a young couple the time, to do as they wish; time for themselves.

An invitation to supper or breakfast, sharing food is rarely about eating. Sharing food is more about your caring; you cared enough to ask, to share your time.

What are your best gift Ideas and did you enjoy mine? I love to talk, leave me the gift of a comment.

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Is This A Writer’s Affliction? Or A lack Of Conviction. Writers Block.

I have always thought …
We may have a bad day. We may have no ideas. Blank unforgiving spaces between our writer’s ears.

Maybe we are feeling low, With life to do and places to go.
So we put it off … penning I mean.
We procrastinate and are not so keen.

When we give ourselves a shake,
Stop feeling lazy; checkout of our writing break.
Pick up a pen and start again. It’s not a bore or some godless chore.

It is a gift, a time to live and work in fantasy.
For most, it would feel like ecstasy.
How many others wish they could too … if the shoe was theirs; instead of worn by you.

Writers Block … is it just a phrase?
to disguise the days we chose to Laze.

Pictures by way of Pixabay.

What do you think?

Is there truth buried in my tongue in cheek?

Or is it a contagion, a nasty communicable disease? I truly want to read your replies c’mon let me have it straight between this writers eyes. ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜—

Playing like children.

improv

He introduced himself as Stanley. In a commanding but calm voice, he said, “Good afternoon, welcome to this lovely Theatre and my series of workshops.” He had a warm open face which put us at ease. โ€œWhat is Improvisation?โ€ he said as walked with purpose around the circle of seated newcomers, he looked encouragingly, hopefully; from face to face. “Anybody,” A lady raised her hand and in her lilting southern Irish accent, she softly crooned; “Good afternoon, my name is Fiona, I think the answer may be … Improving yourself?” She delivered her statement without flinching and punctuated it with a sharp nod. The silence filled the room and like all good teachers of improv should, Stanley smiled. He tilted his head, squinted hard and began a long slow nod, “Yeeesss, improving your acceptance of offers, never saying no, or shutting an offer down,” he replied. Now, we were all frowning, looking from Fiona to Stanley and back. From my position today with minimal knowledge on board and one ten week course completed; I know exactly what he meant … *claps hands* “Bravo for not wimping out of the offer Stanley.”

Delivering open interesting statements, open questions or offers, and continuing with interesting responses, ones that can be grown into even more elaborate but random stories; that is how to improvise. Learning spontaneity, how to turn off the internal policeman is necessary and we are required to do so to proceed.

On to our first icebreaker. We were to choose a person, preferably one you didn’t know before, link arms with them and walk quietly around the room, out on the balcony and down to the garden. Stanley instructed us to chat as if long-term friends having a stroll, having a chinwag. On the way try to find things out about each other. For me taking a stranger by the arm was huge. We ‘Brits’ don’t encroach, as a rule, we give other human beings personal space. It simply isn’t done. Lesson learned! How to relax and turn off the voice / internal policeman, until it is no longer telling you ‘you can’t do that, adults should never.’ Eventually (minutes later) we all get into a large circle and a pair at a time steped forward. One in the middle listening, her partner commentating, recalling the others words. She or he; then swapped places. This was repeated for all of us. When, or if, you froze and invariably you did, you most likely said “I am afraid I can not remember your son’s name,” or Job or something to of that effect. Stanley would interject with ‘yes you do’ and on one such occasion he said, ‘you met her at the courthouse.’ He was trying to remind us; it is improv. Someone … (Lovely Fiona) said, ‘I’ve never been in a court in my life,’ while stabbing out the four stations of the cross. Stanley, was nodding enthusiastically when he replied … ‘You have, when you were arrested for breaking that window.’ The penny dropped. One by one the circle got it, slow nods and smiles as the realisation hit home. All except for poor Fiona and her partner, Gretchen, a nicely spoken octogenarian who was mortified by the thought. She looked on; horrified, hand to mouth, eyes poking so far out that I thought surely they would roll across the floor at any moment. Her jaw repeatedly opened and shut as she trembled and took her seat. With lesson one now learned, we moved on. What you don’t know you can make up, and nobody cares. And so the improv classes began with great enjoyment.

One course down and we broke for Summer. I couldn’t believe how much I missed it.

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During the break kate, my long-term friend and improv buddy continued to improv with me. We’d walk her dogs Chester, a white westie and Rosie, a long-haired Dach Russel (Dachshund cross, wirehaired Jack Russel) Three times a week. At the crack of dawn, we’d take them; for forest walks, in the grounds of national trust houses or vast acres of Suffolk countryside. Our attempt to keep a totally unplanned story going for the duration of a 4,6 or seven-mile walk, was a challenge. Especially when interspersed with songs, rhymes and basic silly bugger stuff. All the while chasing down two hounds. I am sure they were that embarrassed to be seen with us as they took off at every opportunity … so as not to be associated with the two crazies behind.

One evening, after a laughter-filled long walk; The Husband, (mine) Kate and I went together to a night of Art. The Gallery opened and Champagne was served in long-stemmed glasses. Along they came with delicacies on guilt trays. Parcels of sumptuousness clutched by leggy teenagers earning a crust. We floated about in our best bibs and hairdos, taking in the sculptures and paintings. There were shelves of objet d’art separating sections. Large figures and twisted shafts of metal that graced the lawns. Purses clicked and secret bids were happening around us, when Kate and I, in unison laughed out loud. Not a tinkling notatious sound but a guffawing that had us clenching our stomachs and cheeks. My nose stung as fizz escaped my left nostril; when we overheard a conversation. A conversation not aimed at us, a private overhearing of what can only be described as gossip. This was what made us laugh …

An elegantly clad forty-something lady was (supposedly) quietly imparting to another female. “I was timing my run for the cross country next week, my pace was good. I took the route behind the lake when I heard and saw the most extraordinary thing.” Her friend leaned in and we shuffled closer, after all, it’s not every day you are handed a wonderful opportunity of people watching and listening. “I heard the most awful caterwauling coming across the lake.” She looked (for effect) to her acquaintance “Really, what was it?” She said while circling her manicured hand at shoulder height towards another waiter. After gorging and gulping several salmon and caviar morsels and coiffing Champagne they moved on to view some pastels; contemporary scenes. We gracefully followed suit eager for the conversation to continue. Meanwhile, Kate’s pal, who had a piece of art in the exhibition and had put us on the guest list was busy being too self-important to join us. In retrospect, I am pleased she didn’t as air-kissing people you not only invite but have known for years is not polite. It also left us a little annoyed and possibly (my husband’s words) looking for mischief.

Staying close to the two women was easy, we just shuffled a few steps and feigned being knowledgeable. Drawing attention to an exhibit called Rust never dies. I said in a pretentious voice whilst gesticulating wildly. “This shovel, made in a modern Baroque style, lace cut, rusted and oiled is a Denice Bizot, the artist uses a plasma torch to burn the pattern into the metal. (Her work can be found HERE)

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I can surprise myself at times *sniffs* But other times … I thank Pinterest, Google and Wikipedia for being so handy. Kate, though interested in my observations was sure we’d never hear the end of the runner’s story if we stopped where we were so moved on. At that moment the Husband appeared, pointed out some art he liked, after a chat and my nod of approval was given he retreated to the sealed bids table. Luckily we have both similar tastes.

I looked around to see where Kate was. I found her, she was pointing into her raised palm and mouthing maniacally, quick, quick. Just as I got there, I saw the runner and her friend laughing behind Kate. I was in time to hear her say “Singing they were, both of them, laughing like banshees. Really you had to be there to believe how bad it was. Rufus was going to jump in if I hadn’t caught hold … well, he is a wolfhound you know.” She shook her head as Kate spluttered. It happened so quickly, there was no stopping her. I nudged and tugged her hand but she turned to face them. “Excuse me, I couldn’t help but overhear, were you running in Ickworth park when you heard them?” Both ladies stepped back, the runner said “Pardon” and twiddled the Pearl strand at her throat. “It’s just that we were there this morning” Kate beamed. “Yes yes … did you hear them too.” She placed a palm on Kate’s sleeve while nodding waiting for a response. I felt myself get warm, my clammy hands dropped to my side and I cringed. “It was us” frantically she waved a finger too and fro from me to her. I turned up my mouth and an involuntary nervous cackle left my throat. Kate joined in with gusto. both women grinned with staring eyes from her to me then back to each other. “Well, what are the chances,” said runner “Of you being here, now, while we were mentioning it.” I watched the runner colour as she wondered what we had overheard. Here we were, improvising, in a gallery, without a class or Stanley beside us … Playing like children.

playing like children

Thank you Lorna #Ginspiration for the prompt. People Watching you or you people watching. Press HERE to join in or have a good read. Media pictures were from Pixabay.com with exception of the shovel not to be used without credit or permission all copyright of the shovel is owned by Denice Bizot

Post and promote your blog on @EsmeSalon, press HERE to join in a superb free safe place to connect, read and be followed back.

Have you ever tried Improv? Or have I peaked your interest? leave me your answers and comments It is so good to talk.

Yes! Sir. #soCs

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “yes” Use it as a word, use it in a word, extra points if you start and finish your post with it. Enjoy!

Yes! This is what climbed down in front of my face. I was In the supermarket gathering items, reading label’s, trying to compute calories, sugar and fat. Really not taking much else on board when this happened. On yesterdays trip it was eyes peeled, trolley nicely filling up when . YES! A flipping “S” word, him up there๐Ÿ‘†dropped like James bond absailing into th O2. Hairy legs wriggling from a sign, you know the ones (TEA and sanitary protection isle 4).

My arms froze in crucifixion position my eyes crossed, I leapt back and the Agave nectar spun out of my hand and slapped hard into the direction of a passer by. At that precise moment I was doing an impression of a first nation Indian warrior dancing on hot coals … voice and all. Meanwhile the recipient or victim, (of the Agave) had turned to face me, as it’s thin plastic container slapped his forehead, split and sent rivulets (all in slow motion) down his face and suede jacket. ‘Humpf, who wears suede to do the shopping anyway?’

I remember hearing a frantic tannoy announcement but couldn’t understand what was said, for some random screeching commotion that was going on. That was when I realised it was me. Some person was dragging me towards pet food and finally clamped a hand over my mouth. Yesterday was a not such a good day for shopping.

The ‘S’ word had long since gone scuttled away no doubt looking for Miss Muffet. Two girls were cleaning down the irate man in isle 4 ( he appeared to enjoy that bit) and I was escorted (manhandled by a chauvinistic security guard) out to the door to my car,

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minus my shopping and thoroughly traumatized. “You will go home and think yourself lucky that the gentleman in isle 4, does not … do you for assault” said the security man close to my ear.”You have serious issues” I went on to suggest mental ones. How dare he I thought, but meekly I unwound the window and said “Yes Sir I am going … I promise … yes”
P. S. Just in-case you didn’t notice “I hate the “S” word, I do Yes.”

What don’t you like? That could get you to loose control? leave me a comment and I will get back as soon as I can.๐Ÿ™‚

Give Notice To Write.

Thank you Linda Hill press Here to join in or read. Saturdays Stream of Consciousness word is ‘notice.’ #SoCs

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A link to where you can purchase above mug is my gift to you!
Happy writing.

Go Away I'm Writing Bone China Mug

“Go away” is not nice for someone you love to hear.
I began to wonder how other writers got “space”or privacy to write. How do you have room?
What do you do to get room to pull faces, pace the floor, screw up sheets of paper for no good reason and toss them by the door. We do not need others seeing us chewing our lips, clenching our fists, grunting, groaning or raucously laughing at what is in our heads, so how do we manage?
Here are a few things I can think of some work and some … Some maybe not so well.

A. In a loud voice state “I need to be at my desk this morning” then slam the door.

B. Put a note on the door “Shut happens” and hope. This can be propped on your desk if you live in an openplan home, stuck to the window if ou have a garden office or attatched to the back of your head.

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C. With a desperate look and dramatic voice, beg to be left alone for at least eight hours, taking a flask and sandwiches with you, so there is no need to be disturbed with lunch.
D. Smear chocolate around your mouth, mess, up your hair, while still in your pyjamas, run around the house maniacally while chanting “I need to write ” repeatedly until husband, flat mate, parent or partner, get so concerned they tell you ‘ go and write.’

E. Have a frank discussion about how long and when you need to write, the day before; preparing the way.

F. Pour a cup of tea in the pictured mug, and if there dares to be a tap on the door to your writing place, thrust it through the partially opened space and shake with vigour.

G. Write out a formal notice to quit.

Dear ….., (insert name) Husband,

I am giving you formal notice that on Tuesday at eight A.M precisely my services as …. (insert your own) wife/superhero will be withdrawn. I will not be approached for any reason, other than to recieve bi- hourly deliveries of snacks, shoulder massages, smiles, or cups of my favoured brand of tea. During such visits conversation will not be permitted. Normal service will resume at six pm. I thank you in advanced for your co-operation.

If you can think of any better ones, or some that you have tried, please leave them in the comments … Do keep them clean and I will add them if appropriate to my list. Happy writing my friends.

I May have #Clothestraphobia.

I have a fear of being stuck in clothes … bear with me … I’m sure I am not the only one. I have been a spectator on many occasions in the past to this phenomenon, as a fashion retail manager. But only this morning, I became the subject of what I believe is Clothestraphobia.

Recently we took a few days away. Whilst we were there I took a liking to a garment. I spied the concoction, through the window of a quirky clothes shop in Bridport Dorset called Butterfly Boho.
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After many years as a regional trainer for a luxury brand, my shopping is coloured by how the layout of a shop works, how garments are displayed and windows are dressed; not to mention the service. Needless to say, those things can have me wandering for hours; rarely buying. All of the above baffles the husband. If you are ever around us at such a browsing session, you could possibly hear the words “For goodness sake just buy something” coming from the exasperated husband’s mouth, or the occasional expletive (for f*’s Sake Buy it!). More often than not I go on my own.

Last week he caught me gazing, heard me sigh and followed my look. Grabbing said bull by the horns, he strode in and made a purchase. Looking is not usually a good measure of shape or fit. looking and sighing is, however, a measure of wishing, hoping you would look like that mannequin if … you wore the garment. Bearing in mind you would need to be as firm, as that hard piece of physicality, perfectly shaped and as tall as that mannequin to get the same look … often that gaze and sigh is where it ends.

I thanked him very graciously, all the time hoping he hadn’t wasted his money. Secretly fearing my four-foot-eleven frame and all its wobbly bits would look like a sack of King Edwards, ones that have wrinkled and softened with age. In fact, I hoped I would be blessed by the garment once it was on, suitably disguised and my figure enhanced.

A few days have passed since we returned, ( to give me time for a manic starvation diet and detox) this morning after a bath ( imaginary steaming off/melting more blubber) I donned my prettiest underwear, brushed my flowing hair, and applied lip gloss to give myself the esteem trying on the new dress deserved.

This is where I attached myself to the word ‘Clothestraphobia. The garment is two dresses. One is an underdress, fixed just above the hem on the inside but seperate everywhere else. The top layer is voluminous and has hitches and tucks that make it quirky. Picture of the garment below.

I love the different; after years of looking the part while working in fashion. I now try to be … alternative.
Things didn’t go to plan. The first mistake was stepping into it. Nevertheless, I did. Somehow I dropped the inside layer during entry and put my foot in the underskirts armhole. I know, hard to believe that but I did.

Continuing to pull it up and put my first arm in resulted in the other arm/leg hole tangling around my knee; horrific. By now I could hear the sound of belly scratching, stumbling and yawning as the husband, disturbed no doubt by my grunts and bangs, began to wake. Not wanting to be caught in a state of inelegant pose, I dropped my free arm and head inside. I thrust my hand in the inner skirts free arm hole and tried to stand. Now thoroughly stuck with my arm bent like a flipper above the head which is covered by the outer layer … I begin to move crab-like. With a now inner layer being pulled around my crotch, made tighter by the act of me trying to stand.

Below is a picture was taken of me while trying to show the reproduced moment. Though I really couldn’t get quite as tangled as I truly was.

My face was hot and my husband could be heard flushing the chain. At first, I felt a little bubbling in the depths of my throat, I remember thinking … NO! I shuddered when the filthiest laugh startled me, I hiccupped several times. Uncontrollable laughter took over, I wandered bumping into furniture while trying to twist my body free; doubled up inside the dress.
A tangle of hair, red cheeks and smeared lippy eventually looked into the eyes of a stunned husband. As only Ellen would. I said, “Thank you for that .. tea?” I pulled on my dressing gown without looking at what I know was a bemused face with a crumpled dress in his hand. We Sat, silently sipping our morning tea. You could hear a fly batting off the glass on the stable door.

I sniffed straightened my back and said, “well, things can only improve” he nodded, then slowly shook his head. That dear readers … is “Clothestraphobia”.

Have you suffered this affliction? Or assisted in the extraction of someone suffering? Let me know that I am not alone.

p.s. all photographs are the product of my own zapping.