What Is The Colour of Christmas Mummy? And Finding My Sanity in Lockdown.

Inside a tiny house, nestled in the suburbs of London. Emma looked up at her Mum. “Mummy the sunshine in my picture,” she said pointing to the drawing on the fridge door. “It is sunshine colour, isn’t it? The grass, with Daddy and Mummy, it is grass colour… isn’t it?” A frown shaped her face as she waited for an answer.”That Orange” Emma poked the pencil into the paper, “It Is an orange Orange isn’t it.” Emma’s neck was stretched to its full length, her lips pursed and a chubby hand holding a colouring pencil was pointed at her drawing. Mary dropped to her knees beside her daughter. Intently, she looked into her eyes and explained about colour and how a few had the same name as the things she drew; like Orange and lemon. Emma and her Mother drew and labelled a colour chart, while her little brother straddled Mary’s hip. They learned the colours of the clothes in the laundry bag and the cushions on the sofa; though Emma’s wings threw in some confusion. During the day they sang songs and told stories, together glued tissue paper rainbows to add to the already crowded fridge door. Mary and Joe Carpenter, went to bed that night almost as tired as the children. They were both happy, knowing that tomorrow would be Christmas. The anticipation of the excitement on their children’s faces, the reactions to the parcels beneath the tree. Though not many, each one had been chosen with love, and need in mind.

On Christmas morning Emma skipped into the Kitchen. “What colour is today mummy?” Mary lifted her head, wearing a huge smile. Her eyes crinkled as they met that face. Her five-year-old was clutching pencils and pursing her lips. Her hair knotted from sleep; her giraffe under her arm. Mary’s pride shone from her face, as she wiped her forehead with the back of her flour encrusted hand and bent to her daughter’s height. “What colour do you think it is?” Emma screwed her brow and as if contemplating the world and left the room.

Within the hour Mary had worked her magic, children clean, fed and playing nicely. Food cooking nicely and preparation almost complete. Mary wriggled and hummed to the music on the radio as she cut the last sausage roll. She wiped her hands on the tea towel stuck in her waistband. Throughout the house, the air was thick with the scent of pastry and cinnamon and the sounds of happiness. The little girl’s question forgot; in the excitement of the day.

Tom crawled up the hall chasing his new train blowing spit bubbles; giggling as he went.
Dad burst through the front door stamped his feet and brushed a light dusting of snow from his hair. Joe’s nose was red and he rubbed his hands briskly to warm them.”Kisses” he called as he smacked his lips and waved mistletoe above his head.”Kisses I want kisses” he roared. Emma and Tom rushed to be lifted in a sloppy lip smacking embrace.
There were lanterns, twinkling lights and paper decorations dangling from every space in the little house. Carols rang out from the kitchen radio and sparks snapped against the guard on their open fire. It looked a perfect Christmas to him.
Dropping everything Mary ran to join Joe for a kiss; Singing as she went. Flour covered kisses ended in chuckling and tickles. With all four sat breathlessly on the floor. Emma looked up into her Mother’s eyes and quietly said
” I think the colour is Christmas mummy.”

During the weirdness of 2020 when the world went a little bit mad, and I admit during the lockdowns I did too, and needed a way to refocus like many did, I took to Zoom.

my own scribbled picture

I joined the Theatre for my first ever virtual workshop. With guidance of our creative director, actor and teacher Lynn Whitehead We wrote scripts and radio plays.

Some of us narrated, some were characters and others of us wrote. All of us worked as a team. We made soundbooths under duvets, in wardrobes, or padded dens. Tim our ( on loan) sound magician, stitched and spliced the recorded voices, added the backing tracks and effects. He worked on it for days to transform our groups efforts into a complete piece.

The writing, producing, directing etc, all happened in different places. Not once did we leave our homes or meet in person. ( To be rectified at a later date)

We fulfilled the remit set to deliver a 45 min recording for people to listen to over the Christmas period,( possibly, huddled around a snapping fire). We planned to finish with a collection, something for everyone, and let people see the Theatre still came alive, despite 2020s pandemic.

A group of tales linked in a framework that visitors to the Theatre website, and the local radio could log on and listen to. This story became one of the tales we turned into a dramatized piece.

Below is the finished article I hope you take the time to enjoy it. Tap the next three words to listen.

Merry Belated Christmas.

Here I raise a glass to you all, co-co-conspirators, followers, friends and visiting readers. Supporters of the arts.

Do leave me a comment I love to chat.

#12Christmas2020things

The twelve things of this years Christmas are in picture form above.

Number 1

My favourite ornament, it has not changed I just stupidly adore my thoroughly modern Angel. An angel in a red coat with a swanky bag. She watches down from above my books, keeps an eye on me. When Christmas is about Angel takes up a different spot. Overlooking the whole affair, smart with tidy dark brown hair. Her coat a ruby shade of red, like santa’s, it has been said her wings and heart shaped bag glisten in the Christmas lights. She is my favorite ornament by far. If Christmas was still to be Christmas she simply must be there.

Number 2.

Charlie. Is a poem I wrote and love it so much.It encapsulates the spirit of kindness of which this weird year I have seen quite a lot. So for your delectation, get the tissues and be prepared to weep.

Charlie wasn’t keen on Christmas, because of the paper, the lights and all the waste, He didn’t think it good to eat so much, when others went hungry, It soured the taste.

Charlie loved wearing Granddad’s flight jacket, the best ever Christmas gift, Grandma said he wore it each day, walking back from his overnight shift.

The coat was cumbersome and heavy, if zipped it came way past his throat. His arms needed to be longer, the leather smelt of tobacco, the wool a dirty old Goat.

But, Charlie could fit mucky Ethel, underneath it when the rain soaked all her card. Or the snow made her fingers go blue … as she sat in that old butchers yard.

He could fit a curled up ham sandwich and an apple from Grandma’s dish, Deep inside the wool lined pocket. So Charlie, he made a new Christmas wish.

He wished that all people had bedrooms, a place to rest their head. That mucky Ethel could have a bath and a coat to hold over her own head.

But Santa, he did not come calling, to the people who lived on the street. Instead he hoped they would have their own Charlie, who would give the shoes from their feet.

Number 3.

My favourite Christmas coat, I feel like Christmas is here when I wear it. I secretly long to be the Angel in number 1.

Number 4.

Christmas Horror stories, These Books, ‘Horror Anthologies’ are the perfect introduction to short snappy stories to be told around the fire. The fact that they each carry one of my own tales inside, makes them even more special. I hope to scare family over zoom this year, but of course, you could buy them as gifts if you wish. A new book is on pre order coming soon Wings and Fire.

Number 5.

Snow! Writing Merry Christmas in snow, building a snow man and sharing it even if it is only on Zoom; would be magical. It will be in the lap of Mother nature but I have asked Santa and I have been good.

Number 6.

CRACKERS! Yes I know but I do not mean me, or the ones with Cheese. I mean who could have a Christmas weird or not without a cracker to pull, a joke to read and a tacky prize. No they are in my Christmas 2020 regardless of weird.

Number 7.

A TREE. no matter how big how bright or how simple, a decorated tree is simply a must. As is a glass of cream brandy liqueur, Michael Bubl’e on the speakers and plenty of giggles. It is just what I want to do and so should you.

Number 8.

The grandchildren, We can not have them all so we will have none. But Christmas without there faces would be the unhappiest place for me. The one above is Ivy. we have two expected in spring and the chronological list is this.

Merlot 15, Flynn 14, Ivy 5, Mabel 4, Matilda 4. Penelope 3, George 18months. How could we have Christmas without all of these. So we will eat breakfast together and I will tell stories and jokes and we will do this while they open our gifts under their own trees.

Number9.

Santa and this one is special, another will never do. Santa has stuck by me and taken me through the bad times and delivered the goods. He will be with me at Covid-19s Christmas. We on a normal year have a tradition. We find a day where we can get as many family together and have our ‘Best’ Christmas celebration, 2018 we managed 19 guests. We have, food and drink, crackers and silly hats, music and laughter. Our tradition of the table game, secret santa. Each household brings, a male gift and a female gift, two children friendly ones each for under £7 each. each plainly wrapped with M,F,C on the package. After dinner the pile (to which I have added extras), is put in the middle; with my santa for luck (santa guides the dice). The die is rubbed and kissed the air thick with anticipation. Each of us take turns to throw, you need a double 6 to collect a gift. This continues until the pile has gone. At this point you can donate, or stick. Players usually donate (if a child has not won a parcel) then we begin again. This time, any double thrown, of any number can now steal. The packages have treats, silly things, and booby prizes inside. We laugh until we all have wet faces and gasp for breath. Not covid appropriate, or safe for 2020, so this year it will be sorely missed.

Number 10.

A phone, TO call up Mother, and people who do not have mobiles or wifi. yes they exist and I will not leave them out.

Number 11.

My bird feeding regime begins in earnest usually with a poem about feeding the birds, With no children to share in the feeding this year I will video myself singing Mary Poppins famous song (I can not sing) Feed the birds and send one to each family household so they can see the birds get fed and Grandma Duck is still bonkers enough said.

Number 12.

My rock/pebble painting, represents a song and the year where saying I love you has been there to replace hugs and kisses that we all are still missing.

Thank you YouTube

Which is your favourite of my #12Christmas2020Things did you like best and what will your celebration miss. answers in the comments, I am dying to know.

Tell it to the muse, because she is not listening to me.

Photo by Lum3n on Pexels.com

My muse loves to surprise me! She won’t be wrangled or shoved in a slot for my writing needs. It was three in the morning, I was poked from behind closed eyelids, her pencil sharpened to the stabbiest point.

from Pixabay

Did she not hear me say, “I will write from 11/4 three days a week,” I had thought about it long and hard. Once I decided on the most beneficial time I began.

At this point I will admit that since stopping work, I never plan anything but medical appointments, and family visits.  I no longer wear a watch, except for my fitbit, again I admit, I never look at that, except to see if I actually got up from my desk in the last eight hours. I eat when hungry, or when the husband feeds me. I  get up when I need a pee, or the dog squeaks a toy at my feet and presses her nose into my knee.  Oh, and I prefer ‘pantsing’ when I write, which I know,  makes for a much more difficult editing process.

On days that I am unable to write, unwell, preoccupied, fatigued or just not in the space, I read. Scrabble, the word game is also my thing. But even, then my procrastination involves me writing on my blog. So what you have learnt, is that I write to rest, I read and blog and scrabble to procrastinate. There is a theme going here, I am just a wordy bird.

So, lets get back on point.  I made the decision to be,  … more organised. The Husband laughed raucously at that bit. I shaded sections of my spanking new planner, set reminders and post-it notes on the fridge, my phone and laptop. Dog walking poop picking (a fur mummies job) and feeding 6.30 /7.30 bin sorting, (eco freaking the husband calls it). Shower and clean myself and the bathroom and sort the washing and kitchen  by 10.30. Thirty minute catch up with ‘The Husband’ shared kisses and moans, laughter and news, then settle to write.

Well that was the plan. I think that word, … plan is what done it, scuppered the whole thing. 3 am poke poke, my muse awoke. At first, I ignored her mutterings, but she was persistent. It started with faint whispers, ones I had to listen to with great care. The next thing I knew, was that there was absolutely no use in staying in bed.

from Pixabay

So that was that, wrapped in pyjamas with my lucky pen, at my desk my day began. Before I knew it, it was dusk my mind was empty my muse asleep. So you see there is no use planning without the agreement of your muse. Mine refuses to comply or to enter into any discussion. I rise, when I am woke by the mutterings. I sleep when they sleep and then there is life.

Myself, Gardening, … along with my muse.

Are you a planner? or a seat of your pants type of person? Do you have a muse? answer please in the comments. I love to chat.

Spring, It Is A lie.

Press the title for the whole post. 🧡

A snapshot of my garden 6th April.

Watch them unfurl in the fragileility of spring

Opening our eyes allowing us to dream.
Sun scoots low to expose streaked windows
and stained tablecloths that soap failled to clean.
Dust motes dance without rythm or beat,
As the light stings our eyes and warms our feet.
lettuce and sweatpeas sprout in soil filled pots,
With dafdodills normality comes in restless spots.
But do not be fooled enough to blink or sigh,
For Jack with pointy fingers and lazer eyes
Sends snapping frosts throughout night skies.
He burns lime green leaves until

they are as as black as Magpies eyes

Stomps on plants with leadend boots.

Its plan is clear to freeze the shoots.
Now our gardens spoilled
spring hadn’t sprung
So we begin again

with steaming pile

Of Pony
Dung.

Forget-me-not.

Which is your favourite season and why ? Let me know in a comment

My Word Of The Year. #WOTY

#WOTY Laughter / laugh.

I didn’t help my funny bone, I neglected my happy,
By failing to remember, how to not be unhappy.
I forgot to tend to the need of mine to smile,
to exercise my face at least for a little while.

So in twenty twenty, the plan is to be,
The smiliest person, of any you see.
I want to laugh until eyes spring a leak.
To inject humour each time I speak.

I want back that cheeky I once had,
It got lost in the busy, replaced by sad.
People enjoyed my infectious grin,
The one that shone from deep within.

I can still recall the feel of a laugh,
The giggle made; as I trip up the path.
The burbling feeling of one almost there.
The ache in my belly, a huge gasp for air,

So join me as I inject this with a smile,
And share one of my favourite poems
By Spike, who made the world laugh
for the longest while.




If you smiled just,  while reading, leave a comment, share the fun.
Let me know if you have a poem or saying that always makes you grin.

Having A Chin wag.

Having a chin wag means to chat, talk or gossip. I try to paint a picture of an area of an industrial town in Northern England in the 1950s. I am using a smattering of dialect to paint a picture.

My question is was it enough? Would it be better without? Looking forward to your answers in the comments. “As I am known to enjoy a bit of a *chin-wag* with you.”

There they were the two of em, hanging over the garden fence; arms folded. Florrie’s were under her tiny breasts; maybe to push them up; pretend like, making out she had more. She was long, stringy almost, she wore a pinny and a cotton square covered her hair. Mum, though she was no better than she should be … flaunting her coral lip stain and seamed stockings. What I could see of it her hair was yellow, oh and them teeth … they jiggled about as she spoke; *me mam* said it made her retch. Then Mum would.

Mavis well she was different, Gramps would say “like chalk and cheese those two” I love Granddad, Me Pops as I call him, he had lots of funny sayings. If he liked something he would slap his knees double-handed and call out “That’s champion *lass*, rite *champion*.”

Down the Ginel.

‘Anyhow, back on track, where were I, Oh yes, Mavis. Short n’ stocky with fat knees. You’d see them knees, when she cleaned the windows, dimpled like dumplings. The lads down the Ginel said they looked through letterbox last Summer, seen her naked thighs as she washed by the kitchen sink. “Like *gert* big hands of ham they were” laughed Smithy. My Mum says it isn’t often you’d see them knees … because she’s not too particular about the housework. Then Mum would, she has a sharp tongue, my Mum. Mavis has pin curls peeking from under her scarf. Tinged, more of a dirty grey colour, from the coal fire I expect. That lass is as short as she is wide, wears a fancy wrap around pinny; not many had one of them. I can’t help me sen, so I snigger at her wrinkled stockings and get a clip round the *earlug*; a backhander for doing so. Her roundness comes from having ten kids. Six were lads, all gone and grown now. We live in back to back houses, terraces with Ginels behind. On Monday Morning if School was out, I’d sit astride the sill with a book; the sun warms my skin right through the glass. Mum told us when we were kids “It’s God kissing you.” I am not so sure about that.

They, Florrie and Mavis, think I’m reading. Really I am watching, and listening, you’d be surprised what I hear; looking down at the backs. Those two, over the fence putting the world to rites … having a good old chin-wag. Got to go now, Mam’s got my Pop’s snapping ready, I’ll take it up the allotment to him, he is busy after all; digging us tea. I better have my wits about me in the Ginnel, that Smithy boy, he’d likely have his hand in my liberty-bodice if I loitered. Catch you another time tatty bye.                 

No copyright infringement intended.

This post was very different first time around. Reworked, new dialogue and a new character in Old Jack. I hope you enjoy the changes as much as I. “comment please it is fun to talk.”

*earlug* = ear, *Gert* = big, *Champion* = magnificent, *Tatty bye* = farewell, for now, *Ginel* = secreted alley, *lass*= young girl, Having a *chin-wag* = a gossip or a chat.

A Snapshot Of Valentines Best Style

I recall the Valentines when I purchased a spud gun, to remind him of his youth! Having heard stories of the fun he and his twin brother had as boys in the sixties. It took time and research on my part to find one.

Beautifully wrapped in brown paper and string in keeping with the times past. Given with a giggle and a kiss that sealed the start of this gloriously decadent day.

For a Valentine should be a measure of your lives a bit of a tickle not too serious, just … fickle. A show of happiness that he already knows and trusts. The receipt of such a gift is unlikely to have ever been given before, like me then, original and unique.

Then came my gift from the husband, not wanting to advertise I will not photograph the wrapping.

image

A chocolate honeycomb filled Bunny was prestnted to me, in a pre opened package … minus a leg! He remembered us laughing at an advert on television which in it’s self is lovely, as me and he and television don’t often, or should I say, don’t regularly meet. Television seems to act as a sleeping draft on me. Give me a comfy seat and the husband to cuddle; throw in the screen and sure enough I am gone. Anyway, my present … an edible bunny with an already missing leg. The husband grinned and said. “A bunny only needs one leg … to hop.”

We laugh a lot him and me, and banter constantly. I ate my gift … not enough to spoil the Valentines banquet that I knew he would cook; but enough to make me smile.

Unfortunately certain body parts if mine, became targets for testing the power of the innocuous looking spud gun. I can tell you it stings! I really should have thought this through.

I know, I am a bit of a loon but I have it on good authority that all the best people are.

Thank you Esme for sharing our stories on the salon this Valentine week.

Have you had an unusual Valentines gift? Let me know in the comments and click to read more @esmesalon Now!

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)😃😂 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/

screenshot_2018-12-12-11-56-09

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.