Sergeant Snudge was known as a lunatic amongst his men because he treated any little misdemeanour as a cardinal sin. There was the time Digby had accidentally demolished the camp’s flowering plum tree with his tank and Snudge had almost launched him into cyber space. His punishment to Lynch, the musician in their troop, when he hit a bum note on his trombone during a particularly auspicious occasion was particularly cruel – he made him eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches smothered in paprika, which made poor Lynch so sick he couldn’t play in the band for three days! The only thing that Snudge seemed susceptible to was flattery, the lads had discovered if they told him how fabulous his handlebar moustache was, he tended not to shout as loud whilst they were on parade.
And for the Mini Challenge: sinister, magazine, American flag, rain storm, chess board
Picking up the magazine showing the American flag on the front cover, Charlie listened as the sudden rain storm beat a tattoo on the window of the doctor’s office. He had been dreading this day, he was about to get the results of some recent tests and was sincerely hoping that his problem didn’t turn out to be anything sinister. The doc called him in and delivered the good news he’d been hoping for so he could get back to sitting on the porch with his good friend Art and concentrate on the chess board.
The summer fete was a very auspicious occasion on the calendar, held on the village green at the centre of which was a huge flowering plum tree. The Smith-Jones’ had visitors from across the pond staying with them this year, so Stephanie had organised the American flag to be on show in honour of them and asked the caterers to provide peanut butter and jelly for their children so they’d feel right at home. She had also arranged with her musician friend for his band to play but asked him that they wear conventional clothes not the ‘dressing up box’ clothes they usually wore, which were like something from the Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper’s album! The fete would consist of the usual stalls and competitions but new this year was a giant chess board and the internet-tent, where people could try their skills at cyber space games. The day of the fete dawned bright and sunny and everything had gone according to plan. Matthew, her husband, was full of flattery for the pretty paprika coloured chiffon dress she had chosen to wear, it had cost a fortune but as Village Life Magazine were covering the fete she felt the cost was justified – after all she was the organiser. Spot on 2pm the guest of honour, Cardinal Rockport, stood to make his opening speech and the fete was declared officially open. Everything was going beautifully as Stephanie introduced various helpers to the journalist from the magazine, after she made sure they knew that she was the guiding light of the fete and had them take lots of photographs of her in her new dress. By 4 pm the fete was in full swing with queues for the strawberries and champagne and the stallholders doing so well they were already bringing out their reserve stocks. Unfortunately that was when the family of gypsies arrived and one of their hoard of offspring started swinging from the poles holding up the refreshment tent like a lunatic. Stephanie marched up to the woman with the black curly hair and gold hoop earrings, who appeared to be the matriarch of the family, and calmly asked her to either keep her brood under control or leave immediately. Unperturbed Zelda, the gypsy woman, offered to set up a stall telling fortunes, she had a crystal ball in her pocket it would be no trouble she said. Stephanie looked horrified and insisted that was not the sort of thing they had at Little Plumphamton so would they please leave now. Grudgingly Zelda rounded up her children and marched off down the lane, where she stopped and retrieved a small bag from her pocket from which she extracted some twigs and a small vial of liquid. Placing the twigs on the path she proceeded to soak them in the liquid then set fire to them whilst chanting some sinister incantation. Leaving the small fire burning on the path she and the children marched off in the direction of the next village. Just as they rounded the bend they looked back to watch the torrential rain storm that had just washed out the village green, picking up her skirts and the youngest child Zelda chuckled gleefully and said “That’ll teach you, stuck up cow!”