Where Has Time Gone

Where has the time gone?

Me in 2008

 It seems like, in a blink of an eye or a twitch of a nose,

Our shape alters and our skin unfolds.

All at once looks take on a different role,

Putting us on another journey, aiming us towards a new goal.

Only now, at this late stage of life do we find out,

if we have worked hard enough on the true us.

For now we rely on what we have on the inside.

Our kindness, personality, empathy and fun.

Can we attract others to us because we are,

Good to be near, have something worthwhile to say

Have we worked hard on ourselves over the years,

Accumulated knowledge that others can’t wait to hear.

Where has the time gone …  in a blink of an eye.

Will I have done enough, before that last goodbye.

To be remembered for what I became.

 Not a face with wrinkles,

some long forgotten name.

By Ellen Best 2021

This came from me finding the above photo, it seems like a few weeks since it was snapped but the mirror tells a different story. I held my face in both hands and wept.

Age is nothing but a number, and our looks are only skin deep, these are well-worn cliche’s but they are the truth. Who we are is what carries us through to the end. Men are beginning more and more to do the same, work on their outward appearance. Women especially, work and have for centuries, on how to present themselves. Learning about the best clothes for our shape, which makeup will cover our flaws. After all first impressions count, we have friends to make, Husbands to attract, jobs/positions to win.

Should that be taught? How to work just as hard on the inside, maybe from infancy? Self matters, the substance of you will one day be all you have left. I am not suggesting that things are not changing, there is a lot of work being done in schools and homes aimed at teaching self-worth, and bravo to that. But the way we look needs to be … something we do secondary to the way we feel, think and express ourselves. To become a good human being is to love who you are. So when life has taken that youthful glow, stretched once supple flesh and slowed us down … we can still hold our own, we will be worthwhile and have something of value to offer. Getting us to believe that is what needs to come next.

I would love to hear your opinions please leave a comment I will answer them all.

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.

A Covid-19 Poem To Remind Us How We Made It Thus Far.

For all the people facing the dread,

standing tall making it possible to stay home instead.

For The packers and stackers

the fund raisers and the backers.

Clap for the Teachers for all they do

for the frontliners and vulnerable kids.

For those that are shattered

but still turned up to assist.

The cleaners and porters,

their sons and daughters.

The refuse collectors

the postie delivering parcels and letters.

The Care workers holding loved ones hands.

Together on Thursdays We’d clap.

The trades that are on standby for

emergency plumming and heating.

The door knockers with boxes and

a happy greeting, ready with smiles

For the people they are meeting.

The aged alone, some scared isolating.

The police the firemen the ambulance drivers,

To the paramedics, the nurses, doctors and cleaners, we give thanks.

To the politicians who try to sort it all out,

We clapped for the Vets who cared for our pets.

The chemist the grocer the butcher the baker.
We are proud of the Mums and the dads,

Temporarily wearing teachers hats.

The home workers that keep the economy fed,

For the corner shops, serving, doing their best

Clap for the garage mechanics delivering goods,

With no engines to build or MOT’s to test.

To Morticians and undertakers, the funeral directors.

The Churches and councillors stepping up to the plate

The volunteer groups working till late,

Those building temporary mortuaries and hospitals,

To pick up the slack, without you we couldn’t see a way back.

We clapped for our Forces who stand up for us all,

always prepared to answer the call.

Simple steps helped us to survive,

I composed this poem in April 2020 when the first wave of the virus took so many lives. October arrived, people had become complacent, believing themselves to be invincible. Once again, the numbers began to rise. I have posted this poem to remind us how keeping your distance, washing your hands and wearing a mask was not hard, it flattened the curve. Businesses then re-opened and Schools trickled back. People flouted the guidelines by coming together, parties were had, masks discarded like old chip-paper in the streets. Many were defiant and selfish, they screamed abuse at the ones still complying with the guidelines. Masses of people said, their civil liberties were being eroded, they caused uproar and refused to comply.

And here we are now! In our Winter of discontent. Made by covid-19 and exacerbated by selfishness and greed. But we know when we come together and care like before, we kept the pandemic from entering our door. I ask you this, “What good are jobs? if we are dead in our beds.” So this Christmas, when governments have tried to relax some of the rules … just remember, if you go too far we will pay for it in lives, not just tax.

Be kind and leave comments, but remember this is my home, and my opinions. I wish for you all to be safe.

A little More Than Poetry Is Required To Make It Good

My goodness I am in awe. I can, get my brain around a poem, deliver an artistic > cough < free write, a passable rhyming piece, or a limerick. But the poetry I read over at Colleen Cheeseborough’s place, this is so far away from that.

I penned a rhyme to let the true poets know what I think of their work. And below is none of the following. Types of Poetry.

Tanka. … Haiku. … Cleve … limmerick. … lyrical poem. … narrative poem. … ode. … sonnet. … Ballad. … Acrostic. … A double Enneade. … these are just some forms that I can list, though there are many more I have yet to find.

I bow before you all,
Composers of life,
Love and lament.
Winding words with
Gold-leaf, painting
Architectural prose,
Like attempting
To cement back on
The Sphinxes nose.

How poor my attempt,

too ashamed am I to lay it here,

discarded like Vincent’s ear.

But yet I parry the expected blows

from fencer’s cries and a Sphynxes nose,

for who am I to try?

And so in this place I walk away,

I concede defeat

touché.

When you read sophisticated Poetry or verse, do you think … best concede defeat? Answers or comments down below please, I love to chat.

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.

Now I am writing for sound.

Our local Theatre put out a call for writers of stories. They were to be set in locations where people live in the town or surrounding villages. Stories that could be fact, fiction, historic or contemporary. The one proviso was they must invite the listener to walk the tale, like a tour you get in the grounds of a stately home, or a museum. To encourage people to take a journey to a place that may be new to them, and immerse themselves in to the experience.

I researched the historic facts for authenticity. The costume from the period it was to be set. My idea was coming together, to help me think it through, I ran myself a bath. It is a foible of mine, to soak in warm bubbly froth; to think, and probably why I am somewhat vertically challenged ( maybe I shrink).

The pen twitched in my hand, the bath grew tepid, the skin crinkled on my feet. My pen scratched for hours as a tale began to form on the page.

There was a time limit, and it had to fit with health and safety in mind. “Turn to the left and beware of traffic.” Over the next weeks it was pinched and squeezed. It was lengthened and shortened and tweaked. Next, it had to be recorded as I walked, we needed to see if It would fit in the allotted ten minute slot. Eventually I entered my piece.

My flushed, excited face spent days grinning after I was told my tale had been chosen. Things were happening, auditions for readers, music scores written and sound tracks found to enhance the world as I saw it. An artist drew a map so people could print it off and follow it as a guide. And this was done for each of the seven stories that were chosen. Please click on the link below to download any story that catches your eye.

Click here https://www.theatreroyal.org/walking-stories/

If you click but are too far away or just unable to walk the stories they are still good to listen to and follow on the individual maps.

Have you found something new? A new skill you never had before covid-19, another strand to the plait that is life? I would love to know what it is in the comments.

P.S. If you listen to any of the stories do tell me what you think.

My Published Entry SPRING 2020 To Reflex fiction.com

                                           Hopscotch Best Served Cold

My palms are wet. I can’t stop the leg twitch. A silver trail glistens on my sleeve. I sniff and step up. My stone I polished smooth, under darkness when all stood still, and only stars watched. Between fingertips and thumb, I roll three times, kiss and release. A clink as my stone stops dead. I suck my breath and hop clean over. Both soles thump together, out and in, all eight slapped with plimsolls. A cheer lights my eyes and pinks my cheeks. A wobble threatens to bury me in a puff of chalk dust.

Me and Jed head to head. I’ll have him. He won my best Alley yesterday and won’t give me a rematch. I challenged him to the grid.  “It’s a kid’s game,” he said. A smile like the common lizard’s twitch escapes me. “Fourteen and still playing?”  He nodded at me as he wiped the drool from his chin. “Yeah, I’m just a dumb girl.”

His marbles come from his brother’s stash, he was a champ, before he left school to muck out stables. Too grown up now, thinks he’s special. A flick in my mind and we are back behind those bike sheds, fumbled hands and warm lips. I thought I wet my knickers; I know different now. No lad will get the better of me again.

A crowd gathers as I drop on eight: one, two, it’s over. Quick as a blink. A twist of my head and there’s Jed. He kicks the trim off his pumps, a glob of spit hits the ground. I grin, and nod; I got him good. They lift me and I float above the lot. My fingers grip at heads; greasy hair and dandruff will never feel so good again. Not bad for just a dumb girl.

This was published as a just missed the long-list, But I am proud to have got this far. please press this link to go to the article. https://www.reflexfiction.com/hopscotch-best-served-cold-flash-fiction-by-ellen-best/

A look At Life Along The Footpath.

On the day in question, she took the black tarmac path that snakes behind the row of terraced houses. Houses with their postage stamp gardens that are secreted away behind red brick walls. They sit prettily on the edge of the small English market town. Across the width of the path are the allotments. Every forty or so feet of its length are gates, if you stand still enough, you can sometimes hear the squeak and crunch, as rust drags itself across the warped hinges. The home owners can slip out of the doors of their walled gardens, and walk to their patch. Sectioned plots of land just big enough for fruit, vegetables and herbs to grow. Each one has a wooden shed, some are used for hiding Dads from noisy homes, while others are potting and tool sheds. Some, are the holders of secrets, places where illicit pairings take place.

Old Jack, wanders the allotment with a paint kettle, and a blackened gnarled brush. “A ten pound note will get your shed protected” he calls waving the brush. Jack sleeps wrapped in bubble wrap and cardboard; close to the Brazier. Often he rests inside unkempt sheds that he tidys in return. He blows and snorts as he splashes his face at the ice cold pump. You can see where his stained hands are dried on the threadbare seat of brown corduroy trousers. The scent of Creosote wafts around him like midges beside a Scottish loch. Often people smell Jack long before they see him. A harmles but important character of the allotment.

As she walked, she looked at the bustle going on both in and around the allotments. Old men nod in acknowledgement to each other; men with no need to waste words on pleasantries. Years of shared knowledge and friendship, camaraderie and memories have passed between them. Women with their hair covered, and gloves protecting their hands, lean on wheelbarrows and forks. Girls laugh at secret stories. A young woman colours as she looks about; checking she wasn’t overheard. An elderly couple stop what they are doing to smile at each other, and touch fingertips … A shared silent moment. Father’s dig and tend the early veg. Cutting curly spring cabbage for dinner, digging in Manure, sold to them all by old Jack. She scans the scene spotting a damp steamy pile at each shed as she passes, pressing a fine linen handkerchief to her nose.

Life goes on around her as she continues on the path. The sun shone on the crisp morning, birds sang and dogs wagged their tails. A boy on a micro scooter passed her; head down, furiously concentrating on the pounding of his white trainer against the path. A cough pushed spit from his mouth as he passed her. It slapped against her stockinged leg making her gasp. The woman wiped it with her handkerchief, curled her lip in distaste as she lifted her head and screwed her eyes.  He poked up a middle finger and snarled back. A moment or two  passed before she straightened her collar and went on her way.

The path comes to a halt. Cobbles trail a curve around the periphery of the luscious green patch of neatly manicured lawn. Several keep off the grass signs are the only things to mar its perfection. A dozen impressive buildings stand around the edge like sentinels. Her eyes scan the area and her brisk steps echoed as she looked for the large black door of number 5; the doctor’s surgery.

Old Jack squinted, and blinked. His green eyes followed the woman. Drawn to her composure, he followed at a distance along the track. Something bothered him, like an over-wound clockwork mouse with no control of her speed. He watched until she pushed on the heavy black door.

Inside they were very efficient. Fifteen minutes later it was over, Her chewed raw fingers struggled to push the three oversized buttons through the fastening’s of her best coat. Fingertips twitched, she pressed her palms into the worsted fabric to still them. Silently she tugged on the cuffs of her pristine leather gloves. A sound, a crisp snap made her flinch as the door closed behind her. Standing for a moment, she took a shuddering intake of breath, placed her smart shoes one in front of the other. She walked the cobbles in the same manner she came. Controlled, back along the tarmac path. But old Jack saw the difference, he saw her legs tremble, the tightening of her lips. Oblivious, she concentrated on the rapping sound her shoes made against the tarmac surface … Click-clack, click-clack. Holding her head high she blinked furiously a fixed determined expression on her face gave nothing away to the onlooker; the passer-by. So she thought.
All was changed for her. Her world had tilted in a sentence. But life on and around the path continued. Birds sang the sun began to shine as the wind dried her lashes. He watched, until she closed the gate that shut herself behind those red brick walls. He listened for the clink of keys opening her door. His view obstructed not by the walls or the door its self … but the clouds in his eyes. Jack shakes his head slowly as he logs another look at life along the footpath.

What do you think happened? Leave me a comment I answer quick smart.