Monday, 31 March 2008
Saturday, 29 March 2008
The ironing basket was like a bottomless pit and Annie had had enough, so she got out the Trivial Pursuit and announced “Let’s play a board game!” Ignoring the collective groan she set out the game on the dining room table. Arthur put some music on the sound system hoping it might calm the kids down, he knew how pugnacious they could become at times like this. Alice’s first question was ‘name one of the gifts the three Kings brought to Jesus’ – quick as a flash she answered “Frankinsence”. “Fantastic” shouted the kids, you’re so clever Mum. Then came Arthur’s turn. “What’s the natural habitat of Salamanders? “Easy-peasy” said Arthur “the desert”. “Wrong, it’s swamp” replied Alice. “Balderdash” said Arthur. “Look if you’re going to argue we’ll go for arbitration, kids what does it say here?” Alice asked, handing them the card. “I don’t want to play anymore, there’s a good film on the telly about the Trojan horse that I want to watch” he snapped as he disappeared into the lounge. “Oh never mind him” said Alice to the kids “he just can’t accept that he’s ever wrong!”
And for the mini challenge: maniac, video store, telephone pole, flute player, windy day
As Joe walked away from the video store he was thinking about the movie he’d just returned. He’d enjoyed this one about a maniac who terrorized a neighbourhood by climbing up the telephone pole outside his victim’s bedroom window to gain access, then murdered them in their beds. By day he was a normal fellow who was a flute player in an orchestra but he turned into a monster at night. Strangely though, this only happened when it was a windy day. When he was eventually caught the newspaper headlines read “Wind sends flautist up the pole!”
Friday, 28 March 2008
She scrubbed furiously at the toilet, careful to get right under the rim.
Dislodged gunge dribbling into the bowl.
“Damn, damn, damn” she fumed
Cleaning was the only way to assuage her anger.
It calmed her frayed nerves.
“That’ll show him” she said
As she rinsed his toothbrush and put it back in the holder.
Friday 55 Flash Fiction is brought to you by G-man (Mr Knowitall). If you want to take part pop over and let G-man know when you've posted your 55.
Wednesday, 26 March 2008
What do you think?
Pledge of Allegiance
I swear allegiance to Britain.
I swear I will never jump a queue.
I swear to moan consistently about the weather, be it hot or cold.
I swear to criticise the Government (especially if I voted them in).
I swear to always question authority.
I swear never to leave my bag unattended at an airport or railway station.
I swear to recycle as much as I can, even if it can’t be recycled.
I swear to drink as many cups of tea as possible in one day.
I swear to always give directions to lost drivers with a smile.
I swear to keep the tradition of drinking warm beer.
I swear to speak in colloquialisms that foreigners cannot understand.
I swear to be anti-Europe forever.
I swear always to order things in pounds and ounces and not do metric in any way shape or form.
I swear to resist all efforts to make our currency the Euro and will start a campaign to bring back Pounds, Shillings and Pence.
I swear to complain about the amount of Tax I have to pay.
I swear to complain loudly about the price of petrol and car tax.
I swear never to use public transport as long as my car is in working order.
I swear to treat every celebrity (nonentity) with reverence.
I swear I will always watch the Queen’s/King’s speech on television on Christmas Day , (unless Star Wars is on the other side).
I swear to not allow anyone to criticise Britain (except other Brits).
And last but not least, I swear I am British and proud of it!
God Save The Queen/King.
Seriously now, I read the following suggested Pledge of Allegiance (written by someone called Sara in London – well done Sara) on the BBC website, and I feel that anyone living in our country should be willing to take it.
I pledge allegiance to the country that feeds me, that shelters me, that heals me, that educates my children. I promise to uphold the laws of this, my land, whether I was born to it, or chose to come here. I promise that, first and foremost, I will do no harm to any other citizen of this land, by action or inaction, and I hereby give my word.
Monday, 24 March 2008
I think the last time MWM saw a doctor was over three years ago, just before he retired – he has Hypertension but it is under control and he only has to have his BP checked every six months, other than that he is never ill. However, recently he wanted to see a doctor regarding a minor matter and his old surgery has introduced a new appointments system since he last saw a doctor.
At his old surgery one has to start ringing at 8.15 a.m. to try to get an appointment with a doctor and invariably, if/when you get through, all the appointments for that day are already booked. OK, no problem, you may be thinking, just make an appointment for another day. No can do! You have to start ringing at 8.15 a.m. the following day, and so on, and so on. MWM went to the surgery and asked to make an appointment with a doctor, not a particular doctor, any doctor.
“Ring in the morning” said the receptionist.
“I don’t want to ring in the morning, I’m here now and I want to make an appointment” said MWM.
“You can only make an appointment like this for two weeks in advance and all the appointments are taken” she said.
“OK give me an appointment in three weeks then” suggested MWM.
“No can do, you will have to come back in two weeks and make an appointment for two weeks ahead” she told him “or ring in the morning to try to get an appointment for that day”.
“Thank you for your help” replied MWM sarcastically “I’ll change doctors!”
So he went to my doctor’s surgery and registered there. He could have seen a doctor that day if he’d wanted, but he decided to wait a couple of days until he had a full medical check-up (mandatory for new patients).
My doctors have an open surgery every morning – there are three doctors on duty at any one time, you just go in and wait your turn and see a doctor of your choice, Or you can make an appointment when it’s convenient for you, if not that day then the following day. They have also introduced a service whereby you can order repeat prescriptions ‘online’, to be sent to a pharmacy of your choice for you to collect. You can also book appointments to see the doctor of your choice ‘online’, and you can even book ‘telephone appointments’, where the doctor will ring you to discuss your problem. You can see a doctor whenever is convenient for you – now call me old fashioned but isn’t that what an NHS doctor’s surgery is supposed to be like – geared to the patient? MWM is very impressed.
They always ask at the doctor's office why you are there, and you have to answer in front of others what's wrong and sometimes it is embarrassing. There's nothing worse than a Doctor's receptionist who insists you tell her what is wrong with you in a room of other patients. I know most of us have experienced this, and I love the way this old guy handled it:
The Receptionist smiled smugly and asked, "Yes?"
"There's something wrong with my ear", he stated. The Receptionist nodded approvingly and smiled, knowing he had taken her advice.
Saturday, 22 March 2008
Putting on her marigold gloves, Mary climbed the ladder into the loft of her uncle’s house. Uncle Jim had died suddenly and Mary had volunteered to clear out his house in Oregon. Mary didn’t know Uncle Jim very well but other family members described him as odd, a tree hugger even going so far as to call him a lunatic when the rumour went round that he had robbed a bank! It was a laborious job sifting through the junk in the loft; she eventually came across an antique chest, which she knew had previously belonged to her grandmother because she remembered seeing a photograph of it with the distinctive horse shoe on the lid. The chest was filled to the brim with science fiction comics, she thought they may be worth something so she made a mental note to get on google and see if there was a market for second hand sci-fi comics. She packed the comics into small boxes so that she could transport them down from the loft and into her car. As she removed the last of the comics from the chest she found the brown paper bags lurking in the bottom and gasped in shock when she opened them – they were stuffed full of money. Once she got over the initial shock she began to count the notes, it took her the rest of the day and when she totaled it up she realized there was close to 10 billion dollars, maybe the rumours of Uncle Jim’s bank robbery were true after all!
This week's mini challenge: pardon me, feather duster, gathering storm, furthermore, magnolia blossoms
Rocking back and forth on the porch swing Matthew watched the gathering storm on the horizon and made a mental note to sweep up the magnolia blossoms which had been scattered by the increasing wind. As the car pulled into the yard Matthew stood and peered through the spectacles on the end of his nose at the handsome woman behind the wheel. He’d met her through an online dating agency after his wife had left him and after ‘talking’ for six months this was their first meeting. Showing her into the kitchen Matthew handed her a feather duster saying “Well you may as well get started.” “Pardon me?” she said, “I didn’t come here to clean for you, furthermore this place is hardly the ‘ranch’ you described in your online profile, I’m off!”
Friday, 21 March 2008
“I need an appointment to see the doctor please”
“OK, ring next month.”
“I need to see him today, it’s urgent.”
“No can do, you’ll have to wait.” said
“But I can’t breathe!”
“You can’t just be ill whenever you feel like it Sir…..
we have a surgery to run here!”
Friday 55 Flash Fiction is brought to you by susiestheboss. If you want to take part pop over and let Susie know when you've posted your 55.
Thursday, 20 March 2008
Wednesday, 19 March 2008
Tuesday, 18 March 2008
4. Post the Make A Wish Meme and your wishing star on your blog along with these rules.
So here's mine
I now tag anyone who has a secret wish to go public and send your own 'Make A Wish' star to Linda who will then put it out to the universe for you. Who knows it may even come true!
Sunday, 16 March 2008
You are Iron Man Inventor. Businessman. Genius
alias Tony Stark, who, after being gravely injured and forced to build a devastating weapon, instead created a suit of power armor to save his life and protect the world as Iron Man. He is a wealthy industrialist and genius inventor whose suit of armor is laden with technological devices that enable him to fight crime.
Oh pulheese check out my photo on the cover of Vogue in my sidebar (ok the magazine cover is a mock up but the photo is real)
Seriously, do I look like IRON MAN?
I don't look like Wonderwoman either but if I have to be a super hero(ine) that's who I'd like to be, I just wish I looked like her!
Now go do the quiz and see which superhero you are and blog about it if the mood takes you!
Saturday, 15 March 2008
This week's challenge: Bolivia, Green Goddess, virtual reality, laundry, ample evidence, matches, your mamma don't dance, sugar, saucy, sofa cushions
This is Diana Moran, better known as the Green Goddess, who did a spot on breakfast television in the 80’s. She would leap about every morning, trying to get everyone to join in her exercises. I always thought she must have had too much sugar, it’s not normal to have that much energy early in the morning, and she used to wear a saucy green leotard. The other presenters would sit amongst the comfy sofa cushions saying “forget it, your mamma don’t dance and neither do we! “ There was ample evidence that the exercises worked, she did have a great figure, there was a rumour that she had made a virtual reality exercise video which sold really well in Bolivia, though I’m not sure this was true. She maintained you could do her exercises any time, any place, anywhere, even whilst doing the laundry or watching football matches on the television. Of course everyone thought she was absolutely batty, but she was definitely fit,
Aristotle noticed what looked suspiciously like moose droppings in his olive groves! Surely you don’t get moose (or is that mice?) in Greece he thought? Anyway, whatever it was, he would get rid of it. He took his truck into town and parked outside the store front whilst he went in to buy the paraphernalia he needed to catch whatever it was. However, this being Greece, he got sidetracked and ended up playing backgammon, and of course after a few Ouzos he forgot all about what he’d gone to the store for. He returned home with a hangover and a pound of sausages.
This isn't a tag or a meme, if you fancy having a go just post it on your blog and let Raven know you've joined in. You can get next weeks challenge words/phrases here.
What do you think, shall I make this a regular post like my 55's?
Friday, 14 March 2008
The neighbours were all out searching for Kathy
Mother and Father frantic with worry, fearing the worst.
She’d been gone for hours
“When did you notice her missing?” the policeman asked
Where on earth is she?
They had looked everywhere, where could she be?
“What’s up Mum?” said Kathy crawling out from the understairs cupboard.
Friday 55 Flash Fiction is brought to you by susiestheboss. If you want to take part pop over and let Susie know when you've posted your 55.
I'm starting a new writing venture tomorrow, I hope you'll come back and read it and let me know what you think.
Wednesday, 12 March 2008
It was a normal day at Secondary School but during my P.E. lesson I somehow managed to hurt my ankle so badly that I couldn’t walk on it at all. The teacher in charge of First Aid had me sitting with my foot in cold water for a couple of hours until it was decided that I needed to go to the hospital for an xray. The hospital was literally five minutes down the road from my school, so one of the teachers was enlisted to take me and a sixth form student to look after me.
I’d been at the hospital from about 2 p.m. and by 6 p.m. my fractured ankle had been plastered up and I was sitting in a wheelchair waiting to go home. The sixth-former took her leave and so I waited, and waited, and waited. By this time I was getting a bit frightened. The hospital staff asked if my parents had been informed but I didn’t know. We didn’t have a telephone, though my aunt (who lived next door) did, but I didn’t know her number. I presumed the school had the number and had taken the responsibility of letting my parents know where I was.
Meanwhile, when I hadn’t arrived home by 5.00 p.m., half and hour later than my usual time, my mother had frantically got in touch with my father’s employers to tell him to come home. Mum had tried ringing the school but there was no reply. As soon as my father got home he asked my uncle if he would take him to my school, which was about 15 minutes away by car, and help him search for me, which of course he agreed to do.
I was getting more and more upset that my parents hadn’t come to get me, I had no idea that they didn’t know I was at the hospital, and at 7.30 p.m. when my Dad walked into the A&E department I just burst into tears with relief, as did Dad and uncle.
Once we got home Dad told me how he and uncle had driven around in the vicinity of the school hoping to find me, then Dad noticed a couple of girls wearing the same uniform as me and stopped to ask if they knew me. It was this chance meeting that gave Dad the news that I’d been taken to hospital with an injured ankle, and brought him to my rescue.
Needless to say the next morning my mother was waiting outside the Headmistresses’ office demanding to know why they hadn’t informed her I’d been taken to hospital. I don’t know what excuse was given but obviously it wasn’t enough because Mum made a formal complaint against the school. What the outcome was I’m not sure and we moved house and school not long afterwards, so obviously there were never any more problems as far as that school went.
If only all cases of missing children were that simple.
Tuesday, 11 March 2008
I don’t think you can ever say “I love you” often enough!
Now I’ve thought about it I am aware that I tell MWM I love him at least three times a day, obviously sometimes more. Before he kicks me out of bed at 6 a.m. to go to work (he loves me ;) I kiss him and say “I love you”, then before I actually leave for work I do the same, adding “be careful” and the last thing we do before going to sleep is kiss and say “I love you”. I made myself a promise that I would never let a day go by without telling him I love him because, and I’m not being morbid here, you never know what the day may bring, it could be the last time I see him, and as far as I know I have kept my promise.
I telephone my Dad every day and we always say “I love you” to each other. Whenever I see or speak to my boys I tell them “I love you” and I have a ritual with the grandchildren, the same one I had with my boys when they were younger, I tell them
Me: I love you, right up to the
Me: Passed the
And so on, you get the idea.
What do those three words mean? When I say these words I mean: You mean the world to me, you’re my life, you make me happy, thankyou, you’re important to me, I’d do anything for you, you’re special, you matter to me.
To me, those three little words, “I love you”, are the three most beautiful words in the English language.
Sunday, 9 March 2008
In the Middle Ages the first Act of Parliament directed against witchcraft was the act De heretico comburendo (1401), specifically naming witchcraft as sorcery or divination, and therefore heresy. As such it was an ecclesiastical offence, not a felony in common law, and the accused were tried before an ecclesiastical tribunal, something akin to the Inquisition. Unless the witch renounced their belief in such things they would be burnt at the stake, which was prescribed for ecclesiastical offences only, as the Church tried to avoid the shedding of blood.
Subsequent Acts of Parliament by Elizabeth I (1563) and James I (1604) made witchcraft a felony, which meant that witches would be tried by common law, which meant they would no longer be burnt at the stake, they were hanged instead! By making witchcraft an ‘ordinary’ crime all the penalties involved were invoked, including ‘escheat’ which forfeited the convict’s land and goods to the crown. This gave local officials a financial stake in finding witches to convict and led to the most persuasive witch-hunts in English history conducted by the Witchfinder General, Matthew Hopkins.
Matthew Hopkins began his career when he overheard various women discussing their meetings with the Devil in 1655, a result of which nineteen alleged witches were hanged and four more died in prison. Soon he was traveling round eastern England claiming to be the ‘Witchfinder General’. Torture was technically unlawful in England so he used other methods to extract confessions. One well known test was the ‘swimming’ test to see if the accused would float or sink in water, the theory being that witches had renounced their baptism, so that all water would supernaturally reject them. He had helpers called ‘witch prickers’ employed to prick the accused with knives and special needles, looking for the Devil's mark that was supposed to be dead to all feeling and would not bleed. It was believed that the witch's familiar would drink their blood from the mark as milk from a teat. It was a lucrative occupation - Hopkins and his helpers were paid £20 from one visit to Stowmarket, Suffolk – more than a year’s wages for most people. It is reported that villagers caught Hopkins and subjected him to his own ‘swimming’ test and that he floated and was hanged for witchcraft, however historians believe he died from illness in 1647.
The majority of the unfortunate’s burnt at the stake or hanged for witchcraft were probably mediums, psychics etc. The last person to be convicted and jailed under the Witchcraft Act was the Scottish medium Helen Duncan, who was imprisoned for nine months, in Holloway prison in London, for allegedly disclosing World War II secrets. She gave information to a sitter in a Séance regarding a sailor, who was at that time serving on the HMS Barham, suggesting his ship had sunk. This information was being kept secret by the authorities and Helen Duncan was accused of using her powers as a spiritualist medium to reveal the secret thereby endangering the war effort. Their fear was that details of the imminent D-Day landings might be revealed and the news of the sinking of HMS Barham was not disclosed until months later. Although this confirmed the information given by Helen, no apology was ever given. Winston Churchill, a great believer in Helen’s gift, is reported to have told her he would do something about what had befallen her. He wrote to the Home Secretary on the subject of Helen’s trial saying "Let me have a report on why the Whitcraft Act 1795 was used in a modern Court of Justice. What was the cost of this trial to the state, observing that witnesses were brought from Portsmouth and maintained here in this crowded London for a fortnight, and the recorder kept busy with all this obsolete tomfoolery, to the detriment of necessary work in the courts?"– see below. Churchill had many experiences where he maintained that his sixth sense had saved his life.
In 1956 the police raided a séance in Nottingham, grabbing the medium Helen Duncan, they strip searched her looking for masks and shrouds but found nothing. The police had committed the worst possible sin of physical phenomena; a medium in trance should never be touched, this can cause ectoplasm to return to the medium’s body too quickly and cause immense – sometimes fatal – damage. A doctor examined Helen and found two second degree burns on her stomach and she was so ill she was immediately rushed back to her home in Scotland, where she died five weeks later. Helen Duncan is still remembered as the ‘last witch’ and her family is still campaigning to clear her name.
The Witchcraft Act was repealed with the enactment of the Fraudulent Mediums Act 1951, at the instigation of Spiritualists, specifically Thomas Brooks (Labour Party MP). Brooks was an ardent spiritualist himself and led delegations on behalf of the Spiritualist National Union regarding what they believed to be heavy-handed policing with respect to the Witchcraft Act. In 1943 he obtained a concession that action would only be taken in the most extreme cases of misrepresentation. However, after the prosecution of medium Helen Duncan in 1944, the Spiritualists decided to campaign for a change in the law. It was not until 1950 that they got the opportunity to present a Bill to repeal the Witchcraft Act. In 1954 Spiritualism was officially recognised as a proper religion by formal Act of Parliament. Spiritualists everywhere knew why and they rejoiced that whilst frauds would be properly prosecuted the authorities, especially the police, they would stop harassing true working Mediums.
I doubt whether a blanket pardon for all those convicted of witchcraft will ever be granted, but certainly in the case of Helen Duncan I think it is warranted.
Friday, 7 March 2008
Once again she was back in business.
She carefully harvested the plants from her small garden.
All her recipes were in her head, she never wrote anything down.
She could make anything, anyone desired.
New people arrived every day to purchase what she produced.
Wednesday, 5 March 2008
Here's the rules:
1. Grab the nearest book of 123 pages or more.
2. Open it to page 123.
3.Find the first 5 sentences and write them down.
4.Then invite 5 friends to do the same.
The book I'm reading at the moment is called "Where there is evil" by Sandra Brown. It's a true story and here's the synopsis.
Sandra Brown was eight when her friend and neighbour twelve-year-old Moira Anderson, disappeared from the small town of Coatbridge, near Glasgow, in 1957. Moira has never been seen since.
Many years later at a family funeral. Sandra's estranged father confessed to her that he had been involved in the girl's disappearance. Appalled and fascinated by this, Sandra began to delve into the case and in so doing discovered that her father was an acknowledged child molester whose activities were known not just to everyone in Coatbridge but also to the police. The horrifying jigsaw she pieced together ultimately convinced Sandra that he had indeed been responsible for Moira's disappearance nearly fifty years ago.
Billy and I met at his home. An Airdrie boy, he knew much of the background to Moira Anderson's disappearance. We agreed, however, that neither of us could recall a bus ever being involved in the case. That crucial sighting had been overlooked by both police and public in 1957.
It's a fascinating and disturbing book, and one which prompted my previous post about justice and paedophiles in the UK.
I am supposed to tag five people so I tag the first five people who haven't already done it and would like to. It's an easy one, so it's a good one to keep as a draft for when your mind's gone blank!
Sunday, 2 March 2008
Following on from my previous post ‘Life’, what I’m really interested in is the reasoning behind the meagre sentences meted out by the judicial system, or should I say the judges, some of whom appear to be too concerned with the welfare of the paedophile rather than the victims.
In June 2006 Craig Sweeney was given a life sentence for the kidnap and assault of a 3 year old girl, which happened only weeks after his release from prison for an earlier child sex offence. The point is he could get parole in five years time.
Keith Fenn, 25, was given concurrent two-year and 18-month sentences, for twice having sex with a 10 year old girl, who the judge said “dressed provocatively”. He could be free in only months after spending eight months in jail on remand, Judge Julian Hall described the rape as an "absolute crime", but insisted it was an "exceptional" case because of the girl's perceived maturity.
Judge Hall hit the headlines previously after telling another convicted sex offender Eric Cole, 71 , who admitted sexually assaulting a six year old girl as she played in a garden, to buy his child victim a bicycle to cheer her up! Sentencing him Judge Hall said Cole needed treatment for his lust for young girls to take place in the community, as a previous jail term for sexual abuse on a child had failed to rehabilitate him. Cole, had been jailed for 15 months for sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl in 1998
Roy Whiting who was sentenced to life for the murder of Sarah Payne in 2000 had, at a previous trial for kidnapping and indecently assaulting a girl of nine in 1995, been jailed for only four years but was freed after only 30 months. Whiting was said in a psychiatrist's report to be "not a paedophile” but a high risk repeat offender.
Peter Voisey, 35 , was convicted in 2006 of snatching a 6 year old girl from her bath, kidnapped and raped her before dumping her naked and bleeding in an alley 300 metres from her home. He was given a life sentence with a minimum tariff of 10 years, meaning he can apply for parole after that time. During the trial it emerged that he had a conviction for molesting a girl in a leisure centre in 2001.
Do you see a pattern here? They all had previous convictions for molesting children, and were allowed to go free to re-offend!
When will judges get it into their heads that paedophiles cannot be cured or deterred? They need to be locked up and the key thrown away!
These are but five cases, there are many, many more, highlighting the farce we call justice in this country.
Now you can disagree with me if you like, but in my opinion judges who do not sentence paedophiles to the longest possible sentence allowed, must be fully paid up members of the paedophile circle! What other reason could there be for their leniency? Adults are meant to protect children, not hurt them. Surely locking up paedophiles would ensure that they are not free to prey on other children, so by being so lenient in sentencing the judges are in fact condoning the perverted activities of these beasts, or at least sending the message that it’s not really a crime to sexually abuse, torture or even murder a child.
This may seem barbaric to some, but I always feel justice has been served when paedophiles get their comeuppance whilst in jail, at the hands of other inmates. Inmates who may be serving time for all sorts of crimes, even murder, but who still have at least a shred of common decency left, because they too are incensed that there are people in this world who take delight in hurting children.
If hanging were an option for these vile creatures I would, yes I WOULD, volunteer to pull the lever!