Blogger

We cover a wide range of topics in the Creative Writing Course at Kinsley and Fitzwilliam Community Centre. Last term we looked at blogging as a form of publishing and a couple of the writers were inspired to start their own.
Neville Raper’s blog is an eclectic mix with his unique style bringing it all to life. Generously he’s offered it as a platform to the rest of the group so, if they have a piece of work they want to share, he’ll put it up on the blog. What better way to get your work out there for lots of people to read!
Here’s what Neville has to say about blogging.
nevie
The blog is called The Thoughts of Chairman Anyhow. Produced by Neville Raper, Broadcaster, Author, blogger, occasional stand up, regular sit down.
The blog is a daily magazine used to promote new writers and poets. The theme is built daily around the subject matter of the submitted pieces. Plus comedy and quizzes to engage the reader.
I’ve never blogged before, but was inspired by Liz McPherson during our WEA Creative Writing course. I started in Feb this year and to date have had over 37k views.
Interestingly, the biggest audience is America…
Nev

BAD GIRLS

Writer Susan McCartney is becoming something of a local celebrity with her feisty poetry performances. And here she is with copies of her books containing her poetry and stories – many of them written in the Creative Writing course at Kinsley and Fitzwilliam.

Can you believe that before attending the course she had never written any poetry at all!

Go, Susan!!

IMG_2064

1930s Hat by Lynda McCraight

 

Well it was more a headband than a hat really. She was going to a 1930s evening in June, dancing to the Palm Court Orchestra – not that she could dance, but she’d have a go at a waltz, and the chance of being asked to dance would keep her happy between now and then. I mean, you never know what type of beaux might turn up to this kind of thing; it wasn’t exactly a run of the mill Friday night out, now was it?

Anyway, she’d done a bit of googling to find out what the evening fashions were like for ladies of that era, and she’d looked up evening gloves, handbags and headgear. She’d even checked on whether fans were used – she was pretty sure they would be – in all that heat. Then she’d visited Oxford by train, stayed a few days and found the most gorgeous dress in a charity shop in the covered market.

The sales lady had been really helpful, urging her to try it on, saying, “Oh yes, it could certainly pass as 30s with its figure-hugging body and slightly flared hem.”

When she’d come out of the changing room, just a corner of the shop with a curtain across, the lady had complimented her figure and said how much it suited her, just the right colour to go with her eyes. A young Polish man who was buying literary fiction agreed, smiled warmly and said how the colour accentuated her hair. That had made her feel all giggly inside – a young man and a compliment all in the same day – things were looking up!

The sales lady had looked around for an evening stole or jacket that would go with the dress but then she’d remembered the maroon feathery stole she’d had for her 60th birthday bash and knew instinctively that it would go. A little later she’d also remembered the light maroon dolly-bag that friends had bought for her birthday and realised her outfit was taking shape.

She got the dress home, wrapped carefully in her nightie so as not to catch on any of the suitcase fittings. All the way there on the train, she dreamt of dancing in the 1930s style, the music and the dress. She felt quite warm when she arrived home and instantly ran upstairs to try it on all over again with the accessories that she’d earmarked all those miles away. And now she knew the shoes she’d wear too – those chocolate brown ones she’d bought for £2 from the charity shop in Knottingley for the 1940s events she’d taken part in – wouldn’t they look just grand? And they did, and she had those lisle-look stockings that she’d worn on stage, they’d do too. Oh this was going to be a night to remember – if only for the outfit.

Next day she had a friend over and they went back to the same Knottingley shop on the hunt for scarves in the same colours as the dress. Because it was multi-coloured it gave her plenty of choice. There was pale green, chocolate brown, a hint of purple, dusky pink and those turquoise sequins that twinkled in every light. Boy was she going to outshine all the other ladies on that night in June. And if she could just find a scarf or two to create some kind of headgear, that would be magnificent.

She and Jen didn’t have far to look as scarves were on the end of every rail of clothes. Straight away, she saw a fringed greenish-blue one that would certainly work as a shawl or might make the base of a turban-style hat. And then, just two rails away, she saw the most exquisite scarf imaginable – it had a satin edge and the rest was semi-transparent in pinks and blues and greens. She had never seen anything like it. It was so delicate and feminine – like nothing she’d ever had before. She bought them both, ideas already brimming over in her mind.

Later on that day, she assembled the outfit again but this time, turned the fringed shawl into a little evening cape to hide the tops of her arms – she couldn’t imagine that any ladies in the 30s had “bingo-wings” and she certainly wasn’t going to show hers! No, everything had to be as authentic as possible. The satin-edged scarf worked well as a tight fitting hat that she could tie in a bow at the side of one ear – very much like the flappers wore in the 1920s. “That’ll do,” she thought.” Women often wear things left over from a previous decade and this will be no different. All I need now is a brooch to embellish it and maybe a feather.”

And the opportunity for those presented themselves that weekend when she went with Jen to a local Antiques Fair and bought, for very little money, two delightful brooches in turquoise and all sparkly, and at the last minute – when the stall holders really wanted to pack their things away- she found a pair of longish gloves in pale blue and spied in the bottom of the lady’s box a dark brown feather, a little dog-eared perhaps but certainly enough to create a stunning feature on her hat.

Again, she returned home and worked wonders with the feather and the brooches. It was just enough to set the whole outfit off. She fell back on the bed exhausted but happy that her outfit for June was now complete. Later as she was hanging it all up on the door in her bedroom, the phone rang, but she couldn’t quite get downstairs quickly enough to take the call. By the time she reached the lounge, there was a message on the answer-phone: “Sorry about this, but the 1930s night has been cancelled due to lack of numbers. To get your money re-funded you need to phone this number.”

“No!” she said over and over, “No. No. No!” It had been the one thing that had been keeping her alive. She wasn’t interested in the money. She stumbled back upstairs, put the outfit on for the last time and sobbing softly, cradled herself to sleep.

 

 

 

The growing years with dyslexia

Did you like school? Hate it? Endure it? Maybe you loved it or you couldn’t wait to leave. School is a nerve-wracking and embarrassing place for many but if you suffer from dyslexia, it can be so much worse.

In an emotionally charged piece this writer really captures the feelings of a child struggling to cope with reading difficulties and how those experiences impacted on her for the rest of her life.

The doors of the school swallowed up my tiny body. I froze as if I was going into a trap. So many times people have tried to trap me with words and puzzles, so many words. I would sit quietly and hope nobody notices me. Please don’t notice me. My mother walked beside me and I try to hide behind her full flowing skirt but don’t feel comforted. She will tell them to make me study, she is against me too. Why don’t they understand how hard it is for me?

As I enter the room there are numbers and words, letter and faces. The faces that will end up judging me in the end, laugh and jeer at me later as I twist my words. How can I stop it from happening? I wish I were somewhere else and not in this huge room that scares me so.

Years go by, I walk down the daunting hall of Junior High. There have been no answers as to why I am who I am. I just sit and cry. Most of the kids that I grew up with are here. Years of jeers and laughter weighing down on me.  I sit in the back of the room and hope no one notices that I’m there.

It was the day I had to stand in front of the class and speak: My history presentation. It was the day and my name was called. I walked through the aisles to the front of the class. I try to make myself small. Insignificant. I want to get past this quickly. My face rises red through body heat. My project chart shakes in my hands.

I am an academic, social and emotional failure. In my inability to hold a conversation I twist my words and phrases to the point of mutilation. I look away from all of them, make eye contact, that is what they tell us to do, but I can’t. Trying harder will not help. I get frustrated and aggressive and anti-social behaviour results from these tensions. But I can’t blame myself. Don’t hate myself. Don’t fight myself. Don’t strike out.

I drop my chart and begin to shake again. I look at the door and feel trapped. Can I make it to the door without anyone stopping me? Another girl shakes her head and asks the teacher if we can get on with it.

I want to take control and tell people. I want to communicate.  If only they can be patient with me. I have something to say. It’s not my fault. The words jump off the page. It’s not my fault. My hand moves around the paper. Searching for the words. The words change on you and go blury. It’s just not my fault.

And to that one teacher that passed back my history grade and told me in front of the class, marry well in response to my grade for the presentation. I say, it didn’t kill me and it did make me stronger.

 

Alice O’Donnell

 

Blue Monday

Another great piece of work from the Wakefield Creative Writers.

A glass half empty or half full? There’s a melancholy air to this poem by Neville Raper that perfectly catches the mood which sometimes follows Christmas and New Year.

 

Blue Monday

 

Xmas all concluded

Resolutions? Deluded

Now I sit secluded

Good thought occluded

 

Monday is so blue

It’s hard to start anew

January say adieu

Roll on springs renew

 

Neville Raper

15-1-2017 (the day before blue Monday)

 

Blue Monday

Move over Bridget Jones. The new girl is on the blog. This is Caroline Davenport’s piece, inspired by Blue Monday.

 

#NewYearNewMe Blog

 

Friday, December 30th 20:55

 

Well, 2016 is almost over thankfully, it’s been hell.

 

Been looking at the photo in my end of year review on Facebook, what happened to me.

 

Gained some weight, well okay a lot of weight. Never seem to feel well. Oh and lost my boyfriend.

 

Saturday December 31st 09:44

 

That’s it woke up feeling rough, going to have to do something about this. New Year tomorrow, so New Me.

 

That’s it from now on my mantra will be “New Year, New Me” #NewYearNewMe

 

Saturday, December 31st 12:34

 

Wow

 

My friend shared this on her Facebook, it’s amazing, I’m starting right away, well actually I’ll start tomorrow as I am at a party tonight so I can’t give up alcohol, can I?

 

I’ve printed it and stuck it on the fridge to remind me. #NewYearNewMe

 

 

 

Saturday December 31st 23:09

Happy New Year everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Me and Dave are back together.

#NewYearNewMe

 

Sunday, January 1st 07:35

 

Had set the alarm for a run, but it’s too early and I feel a bit yuck. Coffee that’s what I need.

 

Read this great article about losing weight in the bath.

 

http://www.fast-loseweight.com/soft/9975.htm

 

 

#NewYearNewMe

 

Sunday, January 1st 12:00

 

Well, the weather was rubbish today, and I realised I didn’t have any running shoes or clothes. So walking to the shops to see what I can get in the sales.

 

Have spent the morning looking at apps that will help me.

 

#NewYearNewMe

 

 

Sunday, January 1st 14:00

 

Wow, town was a longer walk that I thought, went to get a drink and cake. Now sat here with water and an apple. #NewYearNewMe

 

Sunday, January 1st 17:00

 

Knackered, I had no idea how unfit I was, had to get a taxi home as I had so much stuff.

 

I got new running stuff, and stuff for yoga. Also, a blender so I can make smoothies and my own soups. But best of all I got a Fitbit.

 

#NewYearNewMe

 

Sunday, January 1st 18:30

 

New trainers and running gear on, new Couch to 5K app ready. Wish me luck.

 

#NewYearNewMe

 

Sunday, January 1st 20:55

 

God, I can’t move, but I’m sure it will get easier. My feet ache and I have a blister. Really fancy a packet of crisps. Off for a bath in my new Detox, Weight Loss Bubble Bath.

 

#NewYearNewMe

 

Monday, January 2nd 06:36

 

Early to bed early to rise, that’s what that website recommended. That and setting time when you can eat, then only eating at those times. My times are below

 

06:30 – 07:30 Breakfast

12:00 – 13:00 Lunch

17:00 – 18:00 Dinner

 

Nothing outside those times and no snacks watching TV.

 

#NewYearNewMe

 

Monday, January 2nd 08:15

 

Just seen a post on Facebook about the 1000 walking challenge, got to be better than running. I’ll still build up to running, gotta sign up to a half marathon in June. But I’ll walk as well.

 

http://www.livefortheoutdoors.com/walk1000miles

 

 

 

 

#NewYearNewMe

 

Monday, January 2nd 09:45

 

Fitbit set up, walking to Tesco to buy fruit to make smoothies. Aiming for 10000 steps a day.

 

#NewYearNewMe

 

Monday, January 2nd 13:33

 

Back from Tesco, Fitbit says I only walked 3560 steps, must be more than that. I’ll have to check its working right. I’d forgotten how heavy fruit and veg was, crisps are lighter. Got some exercise DVDs as well.

 

Anyway missed lunch so just had a smoothie, raspberry, parsnip and carrot it was different but lovely.

 

#NewYearNewMe

 

Monday, January 2nd 17:45

 

Just had dinner Grilled Chicken and Hummus. No run today as it’s a rest day was going to have a walk but as it’s raining and I walked to Tesco earlier decided to stay in and watch Exercise DVD.

 

#NewYearNewMe

 

Monday, January 2nd 20:00

 

Watched DVD’s knackered and I didn’t even do the exercise, thought it best to watch first make sure I know what I am doing.

 

#NewYearNewMe

 

Tuesday, January 3rd 18:00

 

Late for work today.

 

#NewYearNewMe

 

Wednesday, January 4th 19:24

 

Didn’t last night as after walk to yoga and back I was shattered.

 

Going well – have lost some weight I’m sure I am must buy some scales tomorrow.

 

#NewYearNewMe

 

Thursday, January 5th 06:45

 

Up early been up most of the night, got bad stomach pains.

So been research diets, just trying to decide which one, have got it down to these.

The Grapefruit Juice Diet.

The Blood Type Diet. …

The hCG Diet. …

The Cabbage Soup Diet. …

The Baby Food Diet. …

The Magnetic Diet. …

Cotton Ball Diet. …

The Lemonade Diet.

 

 

#NewYearNewMe

 

Thursday, January 5th 10:00

 

Nipped out from work to buy cabbage soup, seems you can’t buy it ready made.

 

#NewYearNewMe

 

Thursday, January 5th 12:30

 

Smoothie for lunch, not the best one tasted a bit earthy must have been the carrots maybe I will peel them next time. Went to market and brought loads of cabbages and more fruit for my smoothies.

 

#NewYearNewMe

 

Thursday, January 5th 19:00

 

Realised I don’t actually know how to make soup, so brought a soup maker from Argos, being delivered tomorrow.

 

Saw Dave tonight he said it was about time I lost weight.

 

#NewYearNewMe

 

Friday, January 6th 10:00

 

Got my soup maker can’t wait to get home and try it.

 

#NewYearNewMe

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, January 6th 23:45

 

Up late tonight. So Starting from ground zero (01/01/2017).Very pleased to report I have done 8.3 miles in my first week despite work and the horrible weather meaning I needed a dry coat and boots every time I went out!

And… I lost 7lb too I think, obviously as I only got the scales today so working on what I was last time I was weighed at work in the summer. Next week new Fitsteps class and diet to add into the mix.

Watch this space. This girl is on a mission.

 

#NewYearNewMe

 

Saturday, January 7th 08:00

 

Up early been for a run, well more of a run and walk, the weather is really cold, may have to look in the sales for a treadmill, I’m sure I can fit it in my bedroom or the living room.

 

Anyway off to make my soup.

 

 

#NewYearNewMe

 

Saturday, January 7th 12:00

 

Soup made its great, looking forward to this. Realised today I’m almost vegetarian now, not how that happened.

 

 

#NewYearNewMe

 

Saturday, January 7th 14:30

 

Off to a birthday party, been trying on my going out clothes, but nothing really fits, all a bit tight. Off to town to buy a new outfit to show off my fabulous new body.

 

 

#NewYearNewMe

 

Saturday, January 7th 17:45

 

Can you believe I had to buy a size 18 still, very odd I reckon the manufacturers have changed the dresses sizes, I mean all this exercise and diet I must be losing weight right.

 

Anyway walking to party tonight, can’t wait. The dancing will be good exercise too.

 

 

#NewYearNewMe

 

 

 

Saturday, January 7th 22:40

 

So tired. Parties stink when you are hungry, can’t eat any of the buffet and can’t even have a drink.

Dave danced with some young blonde lass, couldn’t get his eyes off her. He said I was boring without a drink in me.

 

Sunday, January 8th 06:00

 

Up early again, not sleeping well, I think it’s because I didn’t have a nightcap. I wonder if wine counts as alcohol, after all, it’s only grapes so part of my five a day. I could add it to my smoothies; this would make them taste better as well. And if it’s to help me sleep then it’s medicinal.

 

#NewYearNewMe

 

Sunday, January 8th 10:00

 

Off to my mums for Sunday lunch, can’t wait will make a change from Cabbage soup, getting a bit sick of it, to be honest, I swear I smell of cabbage all the time. May have to try the lemonade diet; I know soda is on my list of foods I’m not eating but it’s part of the diet, I’ll just not drink cola, etc.

 

#NewYearNewMe

 

Sunday, January 8th 13:00

 

Walked to mums, my feet are killing me, got blisters, maybe I shouldn’t walk so far in high heels.

 

 

#NewYearNewMe

 

Sunday, January 8th 15:30

 

Dinner was basically pile of veg and meat, no potatoes, no Yorkshire pudding, no dessert and no wine.

 

#NewYearNewMe

 

Sunday, January 8th 20:00

 

Feel guilty found some biscuits in kitchen and ate one without thinking.

 

#NewYearNewMe

 

 

Sunday, January 8th 22:30

 

Not sure about this Lemonade diet it makes me burp all the time.

 

#NewYearNewMe

 

Monday, January 9th 17:00

 

Not been well today had really bad stomach ache, then had a massive poo that hurt. My mum said it’s because I ate lots of meat yesterday and I’m not used to it now.

 

#NewYearNewMe #FeelingRough

 

Monday, January 9th 20:00

 

Brought some little rubber bands with magnet on they go on your big toe and stop you feeling hungry.

Missed Fitsteps tonight, so watched my fitness DVD’s again.

 

#NewYearNewMe

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, January 10th 23:00

 

Someone on Facebook posted walking in circles the other day, and I decided to be a hamster today and walk around and around the building at work.

14 laps around and 3.28 miles later, this gal is exhausted!!!!

 

#NewYearNewMe

 

 

 

Wednesday, January 11th 20:10

 

Given up with cabbage and lemonade diets clearly not working, and I have wind all the time. It was Sarah’s birthday today she brought cake, of course, I didn’t have any. I wonder if there is a cake diet?

 

#NewYearNewMe

 

Wednesday, January 11th 21:17

 

There isn’t a cake diet, oh god I really want cake now. Does carrot cake count as real cake?

May try the Atkins diet.

 

#NewYearNewMe

 

Wednesday, January 11th 21:17

 

Not trying the Atkins diet, just read this.

 

#NewYearNewMe

 

 

 

Wednesday, January 11th 21:17

 

Think I might detox tomorrow, I read about having days off eating.

 

#NewYearNewMe

 

 

Thursday, January 12th 13:17

 

I was sent home from work after I fainted, so off to bed.

 

#NewYearNewMe

 

Thursday, January 12th 18:55

 

I’m so hungry and tired, not sure this water only day is such a good idea. Don’t even have the energy to watch my exercise DVD’s. I could really do with some chocolate.

 

#NewYearNewMe

 

Friday, January 13th 13:00

 

Oh, Friday 13th. Oh dear, hope nothing goes wrong. I’ve got my lucky rabbit’s foot just in case.

 

Back at work, just want to cry. Weighed myself and I have gained weight. Only managed to walk 28 miles in two weeks, I’ll never get to 1000 miles at this rate.

 

#NewYearNewMe #FeelLikeAFailure

 

Friday, January 13th 22:00

 

Been out for a meal with old friends, had a lovely piece of smoked salmon. Great night, feeling much better.

 

#NewYearNewMe

 

Saturday, January 14th 20:00

 

Great day been out for a walk, ran on the treadmill, feeling on top of the world.

Bikini Body on its way.

 

#NewYearNewMe

 

Sunday, January 15th 22:00

 

Looking forward to another week of exercise and diet, I think I’m not losing weight because of all the muscle I’m building.

 

#NewYearNewMe

 

Monday, January 16th 06:30

 

Back at work, Up early. Went for a run. Feel great. Positive thinking that’s the way forward.

They said on the radio that today is Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year lots of people phones in saying they were in debt, had failed their New Year’s resolutions, were overweight.

 

Not me Positive Mental Attitude.

 

#NewYearNewMe #PMA

 

Monday, January 16th 07:20

 

Not going well, stubbed my toe on the treadmill, ran into bathroom, got blood all over the bedroom and landing carpets. That’s not all then slipped on floor and banged my shoulder.

 

#NewYearNewMe

 

Monday, January 16th 09:44

 

Not got to work yet ended up in A&E, not because of my stubbed toe or hurt shoulder. No came out and slipped on the wet leaves, I mean wet leaves not even ice. So now sat waiting for x-ray.

Read an article about making positive changes to your life, ditching the fad diets, clearing out the old.

 

#NewYearNewMe

 

Monday, January 16th 16:30

 

Home from hospital. Now for some changes.

 

#NewYearNewMe

 

 

Monday, January 16th 20:30

 

Had time to think today, decided to make some changes.

Have dumped Dave he was demoralising me

Binned all the cabbage, may still make soups and smoothies occasionally though

Listed the treadmill and Exercise DVD’s on eBay

Emailed work to resign, I’m going to work for myself

Booked a walking holiday, I do actually like walking

Bought myself some decent walking boots.

Sent an email to volunteer at Dogs Trust

Feeling great and enjoying my burger and chips with a coke, with my besties, Thank you, girls, for being my friend.

 

#NewYearNewMe #FeelingPositive #PMA

 

 

 

 

Blue Monday

I’m always amazed by the variety of work that is produced after a workshop. Here’s another take on our Blue Monday theme – a story this time, featuring a pair of colourful ladies. I wonder if you can guess who they are.  And, by the same writer, an unusual diary.

MRS BLUE AND MISS LEMON

By Susan McCartney

  

The pair sat on the bench observing the world go by. No one noticed the elderly woman and the pretty girl.

‘I see you’re rocking the total blue look today Madge,’ said Miss Lemon. ‘It suits you but why blue?’

‘Well it’s that ‘Blue Monday’ I thought it would be in keeping for a special day.’

‘Ah I forgot for a minute. Bet you’ve been run off your feet.’

‘I’ll say. Talk about ‘Reported Incident’ here and ‘Reported Incident’ there. It’s good to get a sit down.’

‘You poor thing. Have your lunch – take the weight off.’

‘Got half an hour yet before the next one blows,’ said Madge Blue nibbling at a blueberry muffin. ‘You got the usual I see.’

‘Yes, egg and lettuce. Got to be yellow and green food for me.’ Primrose Lemon cocked her head and stared at Mrs Blue.  ‘It’s funny to see you in anything else but black.  But I like the face especially the bushy eyebrows. Not so sure about the blue hair.’

‘It’s the latest fashion I’ll have you know. But I’m not sure about the caterpillar brows either. Too scary do you think?’ She adjusted her blue beret to a jaunty angle.

Miss Lemon bit her lip. ‘Don’t want to frighten ‘em to death do you?’ She snorted a nose laugh.

Mrs Blue’s mouth twitched and then she laughed loud like a superannuated hyena. No one noticed.

‘Never did like Mondays,’ said Primrose Lemon. ‘Me neither,’ said Madge Blue.  The music of the ‘Boomtown Rats’ crawled into their minds.  They both tapped their feet to the beat.

Miss Lemon munched on her lettuce picking up a bit of egg from her yellow coat. ‘I really like that blue coat and your shoes. Love ‘em!  Been shopping?’ She gave a sly grin.  ‘Been shoplifting then you bad girl.’

Mrs Blue picked a blueberry from her teeth and examined it. ‘Will be taking it all back tomorrow Primrose.  They never noticed it was gone.’ She twirled an ankle.  ‘Love these blue suede shoes.  Might keep ‘em.’

Primrose Lemon looked shocked. ‘Madge…….you can’t.’

‘Well they were reduced to clear and who would want size 10 with the left foot slightly faded? I’ll leave a couple of quid in the charity box if it makes you feel better.’

‘Alright I’ll give you that one.’ Miss Lemon stretched and yawned.  ‘Didn’t expect to get up so early.  Back to black tomorrow then?’

‘Tomorrow I going to be rocking the shocking pink. A different colour for each day of the week.’ Primrose Lemon gasped. Mrs Blue winked.  ‘I kid you not – I want a change. Black is so draining.’

‘I can see why,’ said Miss Lemon blowing a sigh. ‘You get bored with the same old same oh.  Just for a change I decided to get to work a bit early this year seeing everyone‘s so miserable.’

‘I thought it funny to see you out so soon. What’s the score?’

‘I wanted to reduce your burden. This morning I spotted this young man walking towards the flyover sobbing about bills and such. He saw the bank of daffodils and his little face lit up. He went home kissed his wife and wrote a poem.’ The thought made them both smile.

‘A bit early for daffs though. Were they them little ones with the tiny orange trumpets?’

‘Yes the ones that smell lovely……my favourites. It’s been a busy morning.’ Primrose Lemon took off her green boots and rubbed swollen ankles. ‘The snowdrops are up a treat so it’s worth it.’

‘You have a good heart Primrose Lemon.’ Madge Blue looked at her watch.  ‘About ten minutes to go.’ She glanced towards the DIY store.

‘Who is it this time?’

A couple – he’s been looking at power tools for 3 hours and she’s been going more postal by the minute. He insists on reading every bit of the small print through broken Pound Shop reading glasses. Fancy a jelly baby?’

Miss Lemon dug out two green ones. ‘He deserves all he gets. DIY has a lot to answer for.’  She waved a hand and a clump of crocus appeared to bloom on a patch of waste ground. A dog having a pee looked at the ladies, gave a yelp and fled.

Mrs Blue’s lips twitched. ‘She crowns him with a 5 litre tin of Value Magnolia Matt.  The red mist can take its toll on the most stable.  There’s only so much a woman with bunions can take.’ The two women shook their heads.

Miss Lemon breathed a sigh. ‘Magnolia Matt! How boring is that?  Should be bright yellow.  Dulux do a nice ‘Honey Bee’.’  She grinned.  ‘I know it should be blue.  Johnstone’s do a smashing ‘Wedgewood’ in vinyl silk………and less noticeable in case of splashes,’ she muttered.

‘Blue silk it is then. Good thinking girlie.  I reckon about 5 minutes now before the screaming starts.’  She brushed the blueberry crumbs from her coat reaching for a blue umbrella with the lapis lazuli skull handle. They chewed their sweets in a comfortable silence. Time crept in soft shoes just for them.

‘I see you’ve replaced that awful scythe thing. It gave me the creeps, said Miss Lemon with a shudder.

‘A tool of the trade for centuries but a change is as good as a rest so the mortals say.’ Mrs Blue smiled and her face changed to that of a young Marilyn Monroe with blonde curls.

Miss Lemon gave a whoop of delight. ‘He’ll be so pleased to see you rocking that look he’ll be gagging to go.’ She paused. ‘But I do hope the wife gets off,’ she said her brow creased. ‘He drove her to it.’

‘She does. I don’t get to collect her until 2040.’  Shouts and screams echoed across the High Street.  ‘Here we go then.  Have a good day Primrose.  See you tomorrow…..take care.’ They hugged and air kissed.

‘You too Madge. I’ll do what I can today to lift people’s spirits.’

With a wave, Death dashed across the road to B&Q. Spring floated in a cloud of yellow and green towards the park and daffodils bloomed in her wake.

Jan 2017

DEAR DIARY by Susan McCartney

Monday 9th January

Today was a bad day with the school bus atrocity. Pete looked haggard but he did his best to entertain the children during the processing.  I dressed up as Mary Poppins – it helps reduce their fear as she’s such a familiar and friendly character.  The bomber ran up to me shouting ‘Take me to Paradise’. I had to disillusion him.  When he noticed the flames of hell licking his ankles he started to scream.  ‘Not my job mate,’ I told him as he begged for mercy. Some days are strangely satisfying.

Tuesday 10th January

A usual day with the normal same oh same oh. I collected my normal percentage of souls.  There was an exception though.  Went to collect a lady of 99 and she did not want to go!  She threw a chamber pot (a full one) at me.  Fortunately it missed.  They tell me sometimes I’m too soft but I let her stay until she reaches 100 so she gets her telegram. Get her next year though.

Wednesday 11th January

Another bad day with that earthquake in the Indian sub-Continent. My brother P. will see to it that the workload is increased a thousand fold following the aftershocks.  He tells me that creating epidemics is something he is destined to do but it doesn’t help make me feel any better.  Such is life so the mortals say (or death).

Thursday 12th January

Spanish flu averted when infected man got stopped at airport and quarantined. A close shave for Europe but the epidemic has only been postponed.  With luck though the medical authorities have received a wake-up call. Don’t want to think about the 1918 pandemic.

Friday 13th January

A good day with nothing major but I feel that something is bubbling under. My brother W. has been very active across 2 continents.  Both W. and F. keep me busy these days.

Saturday 14th January

The asteroid destined to take out the Wall Street area of New York has been blasted off its collision course by another asteroid. They both fell into the sun.  The mortals never noticed – they were busy with their share dealing and hedge funds.  Sometimes ignorance can be bliss.  It is worrying me that it is that wretched ‘Blue Monday’ coming up. On the plus side I collected several executed serial killers, dictators, and war lords today. Today was a good day generally.

Sunday 15th January

I have formulated a plan for Miss Spring to help me out. She encourages daffodils and crocus to bloom and this can lift the spirits of the mortals and they could be less likely to self-harm. Also the King of Winter has agreed to increase temperatures a little thus decreasing the numbers of the elderly who may succumb to the cold.  It is better than nothing but the day will still be a busy one.  The psyches of the mortals can be very delicate and financial burdens often loom large.  The worst day of the year for them and not so good for me.  I intend to wear blue instead of my usual black when collecting. An affectation I know but that’s me.  A good night’s sleep is called for as the ‘reported incidents’ will start early.

Monday 16th January

What a depressing day. Sometimes I would rather be anyone else than me. Miss Spring left me a lovely present – bunches and bunches of those little daffs with the orange trumpets.  I feel a lot better now.