Monday, 16 December 2013

Still In Homework Mode

It comes to something when Bro in New Zealand has to email me to check I'm still in the land of the living.  Bless him, he noticed the absence of posts on any of my blogs and had begun to wonder.
But here I am, and tomorrow will be the last class until the end of January, so I may be around a little more often until then, should anybody be calling...
Although my tutor specialises in  setting us assignments for short stories, this time his handout was all about various styles of poetry, with examples included. One of these happened to be a few lines from the Song of Solomon, which he described as 'Grammatical Parallelism' - a term with which I was not familiar.
Roughly translated, it means the idea in one line, is repeated in the next - ad infinitum. So here for your delight is my attempt, which I have entitled " Song of Santa". With apologies.

For, lo, the summer is gone, and the festive season is upon us;
the spirit of goodwill appears on the earth;
the time of the singing of carols is come,
and churches resound with the choirboys' voices;
shops put forth their decorations,
and fir trees with pointed cones give a good smell.
Strings of flashing lights drape around our windows,
while outside, the silver stars twinkle from the heavens.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

More Homework

This time, we had to write about a memorable character...mine was called Mrs Priest.

In the ground floor flat of a big old house in Kingston Crescent lived Mrs Priest and her spinster daughter Margaret; we lived on the top floor.

When Mum was invited in for a cup of tea, if I was at home, I’d be included too. As this was in an era when children were expected to be ‘seen and not heard’, I had plenty of time to study them both.

Mrs Priest was tiny – event shorter than Mum, who was only five foot three herself- and usually had a cigarette dangling from the side of her mouth, if it wasn’t waving around in one hand as she grandly underlined a point in whatever tale she was telling.

Her wizened face would screw up further as the smoke drifted up into her eyes while the cigarette wagged up and down like a dog’s tail, without ever stopping the flow of words that managed to escape from between the clenched lips.

Her dresses were dark blue or black sprigged with tiny flowers, and from their short sleeves emerged thin, loose fleshed arms ending in knobbled fingers, where several stacks of rings rattled with each grand gesture- she was given to those - and her long, oval nails reminded me of our budgie's claws...

She was afflicted with a permanent shaking or nodding head, like many older people, and the movements somehow carried their silent messages through her whole nervous system, so that even the hem of her dress seemed to quiver in sympathy.

But she was not intimidating, with her white hair fluffed around her head still showing signs of natural curl. Honesty bids me acknowledge that so did the ones on her chin! They were fine but profuse and I had to concentrate hard not to let my eyes focus on them the whole time she was talking.

By comparison, Margaret was loud and brash. Her full lips sported dark red lipstick, and her nails matched, though the rest of her looked drab, with greying-brown shoulder length hair topping off nondescript twinsets-and- skirts in similar shades.

No, the brashness and volume came from her voice. It grated on the ears, for Margaret had a speech impediment. It made her talk through her nose. I wonder if you know what I mean by this?  While she was speaking, she somehow managed to simultaneously exhale a certain amount of air through her nose.  But nothing daunted, her loud voice would ramble on.

They were well travelled and had many curios scattered around on tables or in cabinets, and I dare say the adult conversations were interesting, but for my part I retreated to a world where I let my eyes take their own snapshots for my memory album.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013


Yes, I still have homework - of a sort! Completely voluntary now, as a local writing group in Havant continues to goad me into action. I've spent the afternoon tapping away at the keyboard, so thought I'd post the fruits of my labours.
The assignment was 'Remembering: A Narrator's Point of View'

I’m in bed, eyes closed, willing my mind to be still long enough for sleep to claim me, but my ears are still busy. Far off motorway traffic hisses on the rain soaked road. A dog barks. Plane engines drone… But suddenly this innocent plane, full of holiday makers, morphs into a  monster…

The whine and whoomph of exploding bombs swirl my world with blasts of spiralling air, and flames reach up into the black night sky… I am a small child again, standing in my cot, not understanding that the pyrotechnic display means death…

Sirens wail for the second time tonight. “ Come on Dorry, here’s Penny’s blanket – quick, let’s get back down the shelter. They must be starting again. ” My Gran fusses around us, and Auntie Glad is already on her way downstairs, shrugging into a coat over her nightie, with two hats clamped on her head, like the leaning tower of Pisa.

Auntie Nell and Betty have reached the back door. They’ve grabbed a couple of thermos flasks and a bag of sandwiches off the scullery table. The first raid was short, but this might be a long one. Searchlight beams swing back and forth across the sky, making the land with its blacked out streets and houses seem darker than night itself.

One by one the family dash through the gloom past Uncle Fred’s shed and the coal bunker over which sweet-smelling, white jasmines droop. Feet stumble a little as they climb down the earth steps into the Anderson Shelter, whose humped-turf roof looms like a giant mole hill on the left hand side of the back garden. I get joggled along in Mum’s arms, but once in the shelter, I have my own little chair to sit in, and here we all are – huddled  like a row of dummies in a secondhand clothes shop, dishevelled, sleep deprived but unbeaten.

I hear the adults talk of doodlebugs, V2’s, incendiaries; words which mean nothing, but gradually I learn the different noises associated with each of them as they fall from the skies, and on some level, I understand silence is sometimes worse than sound, for it is in the silences the women’s tensions can be felt. But they hold their fears in check, and guard my innocence.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

And the answer is...

192 squares, total area approximately 54" x  72". What was the question? See the previous post!

For the curious, I've taken a photo of the yarn left after I reached the cut off point - i.e. when one or more of the colours had so little remaining, I couldn't make even one more square which included it, let alone another complete row to add to the width or length.

I had 200g of the white and turquoise, as opposed to only 100g of the other eleven colours, and as you see, the olive and bluebell yarns are now tiny balls the size of a large marbles...

I think I must have lost my marbles to embark on such a haphazard project which was fuelled mostly by curiosity, pure and simple, if I'm honest.

After buying the yarn, I wanted to know how big a blanket I could make with it. Now I know! Hahaha!

And this is what it looks like spread out on a King Size bed, just to give you an idea of the size... But today, it's given me another idea, and I may split it into two, to create snuggle rugs for two small persons, instead... I'm so good at creating more work for myself!  :)

Monday, 7 October 2013

Excuses, excuses...

This is what has been keeping me from blogging - thirteen balls of yarn bought specially to see how big the blanket would be when I'd used as much of them as was humanly possible. Why? for no more good reason than that they were a bargain and the colours delighted me.

It's a work in progress, and towards the top left of the photo, you can see  a pink edged square in the latest row under construction when I stopped to take the photo. I was hoping to make every square different, but the blanket is now so large, I've inadvertently duplicated one or two without realising. It will be a brave  person who seeks to find them!

By my reckoning another twenty two squares would make a reasonable 6' x 4' coverlet, if the yarn I have left will stretch that far. Time will tell...

Monday, 9 September 2013

Not Exactly An Alarm Clock

But it could definitely awaken a sleeper, that's for sure.  Just after half past eight this morning, there had been many 'noises off' which alerted me to the fact that Work was In Progress around The Lampost I mentioned earlier. However, when a whining shriek set my teeth on edge, I had to open the front door to see what made it... It was one of these babies. It might look like a docile snail on a lead, but believe me, when in action, a banshee would be more melodious.

And below is the shot my camera captured a few moments later, after  the original noisy snail had been discarded as 'faulty', and an obliging workman had let me snap it's replacement for your delight.

You can see the hole was a fair size, but in his wisdom, the workman was cutting out at least another square foot (or two) of tarmac to make it bigger... Apparently, this was to remove imperfections in the surrounding surface, to ensure the final joint with the infill patch would be as strong as possible.

Yes, I'd asked him lots of questions, poor man!

You must forgive the  seemingly huge bell and clapper in the foreground corner - it was too wet underfoot for me to step out on the path  to get a better view, but I did trot upstairs to see if my bathroom window would give a clearer one, but sadly, it didn't... But quite why one workman is crouching in that distant spot, is anybody's guess.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013


I can hear you asking "Why is one piece of orange-red plastic firmly anchored to the other?" Well, it's a health and safety issue, of course... No, not for the plastic, but for passing pedestrians.

You see, the council, in their wisdom, has decreed that Havant needs new street lights. 

The one outside the house next door to mine, had long been temperamental, to say the least. It would glow piteously through some days, and remain like the Black Hole of Calcutta to match many a night.

True to an Unwritten  Law for British Workmen, the activity which gave rise to my second photo, appears to have come to a grinding halt.  After the original flurry of yesterday, this morning The Hole with Implants (incomplete) is devoid of human occupation... Who knows when the next influx of eager council employees will return to complete the switch, and switch on the the new, taller, smarter addition to our cul-de-sac? So far, I'm impressed with the fact that it appears perpendicular...

Men At Work?

There's a hole in the road!
Well, I'll be blowed...
and two lamp posts, not one.
You can see from the sky
it's a dull old day, without a scrap of sun,
and all is quiet around the hole
and there isn't a single, curious soul, 'cept me,
to stand and admire the fenced in light,
and wonder if it will shine tonight...

Friday, 30 August 2013

It Grabbed My Attention

Interesting words, but how different they are in meaning from 'seeking attention', for one happens by chance, whereas the other is a deliberate attempt to make others notice us, or our achievements...

I started pondering  after reading this sentence on Braja Sorensen's blog, Lost and Found in India, this morning:-

People praise the rich and variegated plumage of the peacock, and he is himself blushing at the sight of his ugly feet.

Do you know people who go through life thinking the same way, underestimating the good they do and never giving themselves credit for what they've added to others' lives? I reckon we could all come up with some examples, if we tried...

Quiet People

Some walk through life without creating waves
which ruffle surface calm from day to day,
and yet their wake will leave a trail to follow
for those who  seek a sign to guide their way.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013


Yep, you can tell, the year is turning; daylight doesn't appear so insistent at 4 a.m. anymore, for which I am grateful. For too long,  it had a habit of prodding my eyelids and brain into action long before my sleep-deprived body could appreciate it.
Now there is a feel and a scent in the air which reminds us, along with September, that school looms, as summer recedes into a haze...metaphorical, as well as physical at times.
Will today's youngsters remember their summers as long and idyllic, when they are old enough to start reminiscing? Or will the UK's capricious weather gods have blighted their rose coloured glasses for good? I wonder!
Anyhow, the thought prompted me to write this, just now...

O, England my England! The summer's near done.
We've had silly-type weather; some, rain, and some, sun.
But these days it always seems Over The Top...
the sun brings a heat wave, the rain floods a lot!
Where are those comfortable days of our youth?
Or am I just trying to whitewash the truth?
Were the times quite as rosy as our memories think -
or are we now teetering upon the brink
of senility's whitewashing, 'Wasn't life grand?'-
a retrospect idyll that's got out of hand!

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Time Travel Through My Blogland

This 'one thing leads to another' seems to be a recurring theme at the moment. A chance encounter with the date 17 January 2010, had me zipping back to see what I was Blogging around that time, and soon, I was having a memory fest - reading old writings and comments, in particular the ones on this post.
There, all of a sudden, the name Shrinky caught my eye, and BOOM! She shot me into the future, as it seems September lives already - at least in her corner of Blogland. Hehehe!

I've missed trolling around the magical World of Blog the way I used to, before writing courses and craft projects interrupted my computer capers over the past months. I realise how much fun I had letting my grasshopper mind do it's own thing, and making words, not pictures, the order of the day...

So I will see how going back to simply waffling pans out. Watch this space - anything could happen from here on in! :)

For Example:-

I write in prose, I write in rhyme,
but only when I have the time.
But lately, folks, I've drawn the line -
NOT to write is the biggest crime!

Friday, 9 August 2013

One thing always leads to another...

And the little jackets in my last post had No. 1 daughter wishing for a similar garment for herself, as soon as she saw those tiny versions.

After scouring the web, Sirdar patterns provided this delightful variation on a theme, but then, daughter's request was for a black one. Help! My old eyeballs quaked at the thought, but as it happens, the yarn is not causing too many problems - at least, under a good 'daylight' lamp.

But heavens to Murgatroyd! What is up with the Sirdar Pattern Department - or the printers thereof? Once again, I'm having to scribble copious notes regarding questionable figures given for the various sizes. Thank goodness for my inbuilt sense of pattern combined with common sense which has averted disasters...

But I pity any novice crochet person who attempts to slavishly follow the directions as they are printed, for I fear they would experience 'many a slip twixt cup and lip', as the saying goes.

That said, doesn't it look delightful in their leaflet's photograph?  I wonder how long it will be before granddaughters start wanting one each? Hehehe! Don't you think I chose an appropriate title for this post? :)

Monday, 5 August 2013

No Prizes...

...for realising I've been conspicuous by my absence for yonks. I discovered many years ago, that with only so many hours in a day, there are times when something has to give - especially as I only have two hands and one brain, more's the pity. I'd like to have as many arms as an octopus.
My dexterous digits have been smitten with a knitting bug, and thereby hangs a tale - or two. I have discovered that badly written pattern instructions can cause mayhem, if they are strictly adhered to. Salvation comes when one 'plays it by ear', or rather eye, and lets instinct override the printed word.
So when I let you see a picture of two of the four small garments I've produced, don't think their size bears any relation to the hours of frustration incurred during the making thereof. Hehehe!

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Holiday By Proxy?

"What on earth are you waffling about today?" I hear you mutter as you read the title. You'll soon understand. My Blogtastic NZ niece has returned from her holiday with a plethora of pictures which she's permitted me to rifle through and re-post for your delight.
Where do I start? Hmmm...spoilt for choice - but how about this bird's eye view for starters?
or would you rather back off a little... so you can
admire the headgear...

and I've had an afterthought, strictly for the birds, you might say -
The peacock wears a feathered hat
and very fine he looks
with it's rippling shades of blue and green -
but a cockscomb's red, which woos the chooks!

Tuesday, 30 April 2013


A poem a day may not keep the doctor away, but it has kept many Bloglanders out of mischief this month, as they celebrated National Poetry Month. Wonder who invented that? Aptly enough, the kick off started on April Fool's Day, and today sees the close with the thirtieth offering - for those who kept going, that is - like me! Hehehe!

I may have missed the beginning, but have more than fulfilled the required thirty offerings since then... as a quick scroll down Alias Jinksy would soon prove, if you doubted my word.

I did, however, treat the whole thing in a lighthearted vein - unlike those experienced or perfectionist poets who dazzled us with their acumen, although with varying degrees of poetic proficiency. The crux of the matter comes down to the question "What is a poem?"And to that, will come as many answers as there are people who reply.

But who could deny the poetic beauty of this photo which a green fingered Blogpal sent me last week?

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Shy Violet - Me?

I am a

What Flower
Are You?
I saw a link to this questionnaire on a fellow blogger's blog, and was tempted enough to waste time and tick all the boxes, to see what I turned out to be! I think it's a fair comment of how I started out in life, but maybe age and wisdom have added other flowers to the posy which is Penny now! Why not see how you get labelled, and let me know? LOL. Have fun. :)

Wednesday, 17 April 2013


The news is on, with pictures and replays of Lady Thatcher's funeral. Once again England shows how an occasion is made into an occasion by superb organisation and timing. Since the advent of television, it's something which guarantees a spectacle like no other which may be witnessed in the comfort of one's own home.

The stupidity of some young people who were not even ALIVE during her time as Prime Minister was unbelievable, but they were outnumbered by the support of thousands of people who lined the route - some of whom had camped out all night in order to witness the procession.

A few days ago I wrote something which I am posting again here, as many Napple Notes readers don't follow my more poetical offerings on either Alias Jinksy, or In Tandem. R.I.P. Maggie.

In Memoriam

The name of Margaret Thatcher hit the news
again, not due to governmental coup
or parliamentary problem, simply death -
her own - not those of troops in Falkland's war.
Some mourn and some rejoice that she is gone,
but chroniclers will none the less record
her place in British history as the first
woman elected to head our Ministers.
A prime position, in name as well as fact,
despite the humble start she had in life.
Now, at its end, what higher tribute
could be paid, than that the Queen herself
attend her funeral service, with respect?

Sunday, 7 April 2013


Who, me? Well, I could hold my hand up to being this on a good day - show me a woman who couldn't? But for now, I am being penny pinching with my words - nay, my characters, even, and limiting myself to a mere 140, including spaces. And for why? Ask Grandma. She posted this picture, and I counted to 140...

Strewth, whatever next? In our youth the table was never this bare. It's enough to make a horse laugh even while his belly rumbles. Heehaw.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Alternative Reality?

Anyone who has noticed that I tend to play with images a lot over on Alias Jinksy, won't be surprised that I've been dabbling with those freesias that featured in a straightforward picture yesterday.
In this shot, where I skewed the camera to start with, I've add a 'bulge' feature now, and I loved the way the composition took on a new life all its own. It 'spoke' to me in a different language...I wonder if it does the same to you? Or perhaps this second variation speaks louder...

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Snowmen? Nah...

If you pop over here today, you will see what spurred me on to grab my camera, and take a picture of these measuring cups, which are cleverly disguised as Russian Dolls.

They were a Christmas present from my daughter, but thanks to the appalling weather and various winter bugs which bugged the family, they didn't reach me until February, but hey, who's counting? A prezzie is a prezzie at any time of the year!

And on that subject, the black background with lime green swirls in this photo, is none other than a posh box in which a luxurious M&S bath towel arrived at my door - but for a birthday present. So you see how I'm sticking to the subject in a round about kind of way...

Often the careful wrapping of gifts gives us but a momentary appreciation of the giver's thoughtfulness, and is consigned to a re-cycle bin with no more ado... But here, posh box is recorded for posterity, and will be hoarded until I find a better use for it than feeding a Green Bin.

Of course, some gifts come with no more than a sheet of cellophane around them - like these pretty freesias which accompanied a box of chocolates which we all enjoyed on Saturday, when my kids and grandkids came for the day.

And now I can share their beauty, thanks to a nudge from Doctor FTSE's son-in-law, a natty wee camera and the magic of the internet. The picture is a little gift to delight the eyes of all blogpals, old and new, who may happen across this post. Have a good day, folks!

Aaaaarrrrrggggghhhhh! I have just been informed by Blogger that this is post number 666! Should I be worried? LOL

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Not An Ordinary Day

...At least in the UK.  It's  Mothering Sunday, as it used to be called in the days when servants were allowed a whole Sunday off work in order to go and visit their families - especially their Mums. Now it's called Mother's Day, and has got commercialised to the Nth degree, with flower prices soaring and cards getting more opulent every year.

But there is still a modicum of originality at work in some places! Like on my computer screen this morning, when I opened an email from my son, for this is what it said:-

In lieu of a card and gifted, wrapped clutter,
I thought in their place these words I'd utter.

They are not mass produced you see,
Just written with love from me to thee.

You are my mum and that's a fact,
And I am me because of that. 

Who I am is because of you,
Take the credit because it's truly due.

Your gentle guidance when I was small
Has paid off now that I am so tall.

So on this Mother's Day be clear
Your number one son is grateful he's here.

Thank you Ma for being you,
I love you wholeheartedly. It's true. :-)

Megga big hugs,

No. 1 son.


My lovely No. 1 daughter was organised enough to get the postman to deliver her bundle of love to me yesterday morning, while Night Owl No. 1 son 'posted' his at 00.5 am this morning! Bless 'em both! I love 'em to bits.:-)

Monday, 4 March 2013

An Ordinary Day

And an ordinary thing to do - fill up a bowl with hot water, ready to do the washing up - but today, instead of putting crockery and cutlery in while the tap was running, I let the water trickle into a bowl containing nothing but a squirt of Ecover liquid.

Look what happened...As the tap water ran into the top left hand corner of the bowl, it somehow set the surface spinning into a galaxy of bubbles...

Then I played with the image, and here it is...

Thursday, 24 January 2013

White Magic?

Once again, the Malignant Washing Machine Fairy ensured that I failed to remove a Kleenex tissue from some obscure pocket in either my jeans, or my navy blue, fleece backed trews. As a result, the latter have emerged with a bad case of White Measles, while the denim jeans have sundry white pimples, but to a lesser degree.

I've decided to wait for both pairs of Kleenex adorned trousers to dry, in the vain hope that paper pieces will adhere with less determination. If I didn't know better, I'd say that Fairy was a follower of the black arts, but on reflection, I've chosen to assume she is an advocate of White Magic, instead, for obvious reasons...

P.S. Don't you think this looks like a night sky with assorted snow flakes? LOL

Friday, 11 January 2013

Is The World Ready For This?!

Hehehe! Not Armageddon, folks, merely the results of my latest absence from Blogland. Here I give you proof positive of my activity, in a nightmarish rendition of a Growling Jinksy Viking - or should that be 'Viqueen'?
I was inspired by a picture on Google, and I didn't rest until I'd tracked down a pattern by Tessa Murray which was available as a PDF downlosd from this website   

For a modest PayPal transaction, the hat pattern was with me in a twinkling of a mouse click, but the horns and the beard were another matter all together...
Eventually, a horn pattern was found here,  and a basic beard base here. 

But I added many of my own adaptations to both of these, not least of which were the 300 double strand threads which I looped onto the base to produce a beard like you never saw before! 

To make the photo as realistic as possible, I tried layering lipstick over my eyebrows, to give them a reddish tinge, but the result was strange, and I had to top that with mascara. Then in an attempted to get into the swing of things, I growled a war cry as I clicked the shutter...

The whole ensemble is now in the hands of the Post Office, as it wings its way up country to a friend who had a yen to own such a creation, and for me, it's back to the crochet hooks as my brother and sister-in-law have ordered his-'n'-hers, iron-coloured horned hats, but minus beards. If any of you thought I was mad before today, well, now you can be certain!

And it being Friday an' all, here's a late addition of 55 words for G-man!

In days of old, brave men and bold
like Vikings, fought for glory; 
but me, I stand for womenkind-
and that’s another story.
I never fight - except with words
over patterns less than perfect-
but now this headgear is complete
and I can hold my head erect
with a beard that looks all gory!


Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Time To Rant

For the first time in 2013!  BT Telecom are well known for making enormous profits. I have been a customer of theirs for way over forty years, and would expect their phone service to be just that. A service.

However, with the growth in technological wizardry which allows scam artists to ring home phone numbers with spoof messages, I think they need to pull their socks up, or their fingers out! After receiving a growing number of nuisance calls recently, I rang BT for advice. I have long been a member of the TPS ( Telephone Preference Service ) but that has obviously not been doing a satisfactory job, either.

BT could only offer me 'call blocking' service as a choice - IF I PAID A FURTHER THREE POUNDS A MONTH !!! Talk about adding insult to injury.

I've started writing down the numbers these calls are supposed to come from; two today were as follows: 02921390035 and 01133100149, the area codes of which purport to be Cardiff, and Leeds, but both numbers, when dialed, have an American sounding voice saying 'This number is not in service.'

Service? Huh! Total non sequitur.

I wonder whether Blogpals across the pond get similar hassles?

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Back To The Drawing Board?

But only figuratively speaking. At the start of 2013, when the traditional cries of Happy New Year have had a somewhat off-key overtone for so many people, thanks to a countrywide proliferation of winter germs and illnesses, I wonder whether those poor souls whose homes have been flooded over recent weeks have been able to say the phrase to each other with any degree of hope, let alone truth?

It raises the question of what is meant by the word 'happy'. Happy to be alive? Happy to be well? Happy just to BE? That is maybe the hardest one of all to achieve, for it implies  no  dependence on material wealth to achieve a state of happiness...

As the first few hours of the new year creep around our world, I can do no better than to wish you all you might wish yourselves, with perhaps an added reminder to 'Be careful what you wish for...' But on a more positive note, I  shall once again dust off and share my old poem with its crop of new dreams attached!

New For Old

Seasons roll forward,
Earth spins onward
in its elliptical round.

Old Year to New Year,
time’s cogs change gear.
Bells herald it with their sound.

Flaunting its drab gown,
Old Year winds down,
greeting the year that’s to come.

Wipe all the slates clean,
then dream a new dream.
Happy New Year everyone!