Monday, 19 August 2013

Sarah - A short Story

Sarah had a wonderful childhood, she skipped about in the bluebells on spring holidays, sat on Santa's knee at Christmas, and played on the beaches of Cornwall in summer.

Why then was Sarah so intent on killing? she didn`t fit the box of neglected child, she wasn`t bullied at school and daddy didn`t love her too much.
She was intelligent, pretty and popular, lived in a red brick semi and went to a good school. Nothing strange or odd about her, she was just a teenage girl living a very ordinary life.

Maybe when Sarah put the pillow over her grandmothers face one morning she simply didn`t like her granny. Sarah had been staying with her gran for the weekend, they had spent the day shopping, then watched a weepy movie before going to bed. At 5 am as the birds began to sing in the garden Sarah silenced her grandmother forever. Nobody knew, why would anyone suspect a bewildered sobbing teenage girl, she had gone to wake her gran and found her dead, she said. Natural causes, the lady had a heart condition, she was old, so off she went to the next world.

 Sarah enjoyed the drama of sorrow, the black dress, the sympathy, the red rimmed eyes that made her mother look hideous. It only lasts so long though doesn`t it, then people have to `get on with their lives`. Sarah needed another dose of drama, the black sorrowful kind of drama, the drama that has people asking how you are. The heads that shake in disbelief at such a tragic loss and say how hard it must be for you.

Gemma had walked across a train track taking a short cut, so people thought, what a loss for the sake of a few minutes walk to the level crossing. Nobody knew that Sarah had soaked Gemma with petrol and threatened to set her alight. They didn`t hear the choice she was given. Walk across the train track and try to live, or die now by burning alive. They didn`t see the terror on Gemma`s face as she tried to step over the electric cable. She didn`t make it. Sarah was consoled for weeks over losing her best friend.

 Drama, a teenage addiction, yet to be discovered by parents, police and courts, by people researching serial killers, drama its just rubbish soap operas on tv isn`t it.


Also published on my blog http://www.alondontourist.com

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Prince George`s Teddy Bear

Thought I would start a little fun ongoing story about being the Royal Prince George`s teddy bear. (27/7/2013) you can read my daily tweets  @PGsteddybear

My name is Gappa and I`m a special little bear, I was given to George`s mum Kate one day when she was out doing her Duchess thing. A little girl bought me hoping I`d be the Royal Baby`s special teddy bear. She was right because here I am sitting in the mosses basket with George. He is balling his eyes out and I tickle his feet to try and make him laugh. 

Kate and Wills have just told him he has to go outside and get his photo taken so the world can see him.  Really? OK then, but they can wait while he chucks up some milk and get his nappy changed.  He says he won`t open his eyes for them though, he will just stick his fingers up. Well done George, uncle Harry would approve. 


photo from flicr.

Afterwards we  arrive at this big place called Kensington Palace where we are going to live.  
There is a huge cot from this fancy shop called Harrods and lots of other toys.  George grabs my ear so I am the one who stays cuddled up to him. There are soldiers guarding the doors, and cannons firing royal salutes. Flowers and cards, toys and champagne arrive every minute. This is a busy place George, hope you can get some sleep here.
George is a very hungry baby and cries a lot for food so Will is busy making up lots of bottles.

Time now to meet the relations, this old lady comes in
I hear Wills call her granny so it must be that lady the Queen. She is very small and has this enormous crown on her head. I heard her saying George will wear the crown one day but he is so small and that crown looks really heavy. George reckons by the time he has grown up and put uncle Harry`s antics to shame they may not want him to wear that crown.
Tomorrow we are going out in the car to his other grannies house, George says this one will boss his mum about but Grandpa Middleton doesn`t talk to the plants like Grandpa Charles.

We went out in the pram today around granny Middletons garden. Lupo the dog met us too, George likes him but I`m scared of him he could easily  tear out my stuffing. Hope Kate has trained him not to attack this teddy bear.
David Beckham is coming tomorrow with his wife, Wills says he will be a knight soon so he maybe one of George`s godfathers.  Kate says no way, he will end up putting the photos on a advertising board to earn a few more million.

Going to meet the boggy eyed princesses tomorrow and great uncle Andrew. Hope Sarah isn`t about because I have heard she puts cheeky teddy bears in baths full of ice, then pulls off their toes.


More tomorrow.

 
Sunday today and aunty Pippa is here, she is cooing over George and saying what she will wear to his christening. Not a tight dress that shows off your butt, mutters George, it will be my day not yours. George says he will banish her to the tower when he is older and she can take all those party pieces with her. George has just realised he is going to be know as PG (prince George) by most people. No no no isn`t that the name of some teabags!! what were his mum and dad thinking. George said he will cry for a year to pay them back for that one.


Saturday 3rd August 2013

George is getting very big now and is sleeping better and everyone is happy about that! How silly are people though, we just heard that the little wrap blanket george had on leaving hospital sold out in minutes. So many people wanted it they crashed the website.  Strange! can you imagine what people will be like when they see PG pram.

Wills played Polo today, I am not surprised he wanted to get away from the mar-in-law, who wouldn`t.




Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Survey Rant!

Surveys: 

Why does everyone want a survey completed these days?

Banks

I was in the bank for two minutes today and I was told that because I had used the counter services, it would trigger an automated phone call were I could then complete a customer satisfaction survey. I was to press one for very satisfied etc.

Really! wow I was actually served by a real person and for that I am expected to give a glowing report on how the staff member was kind, attentive seemed happy in their job, the enviroment was pleasant blah blah blah.  For goodness sake what a load of rubbish! people will either put the phone down or just press number 1 repeatedly.  Useful things then surveys we can now add surveys at the end of ``there are lies, damned lies, stats and surveys.``

When I left school and worked in a large department store a manager patrolled the shop floor making sure we gave great customer service, otherwise you were sacked. Maybe the banks wouldn`t lose millions if they had that approach today.

Council Office

Go into a council office and a machine shows you a traffic light system of faces to give customer feedback. Red for we need to improve, amber for we could do better and green for we got it right.  Well what if I kick the damn machine and leave a note saying I`d don`t like the idea that they bought you in the first place! it is our money that paid for it after all.

Eating out

Along with the cutlery comes the survey flyer, yes I might win £200 in voucher or a free meal but then I probably won`t.

Night Out

Bought a ticket for a concert, theatre, cinema, bungee jump off the Shard ? Notice the survey that comes in 24 hours after your event. How was your night, did we do well? 

Actually no you didn`t do well! you provided a service I paid for, end of it please.

I am a comper I expect email surveys but that is part of the comping world. Fill this in and you might win some vouchers. I accept that sort of survey and usually just delete them.

In every aspect of any kind of `service` now though you are being asked to complete a survey, it is passive bullying if you ask me. We are getting so used to this `feedback` expectation that I doubt we even notice anymore we are our giving email address, dob, gender, income to name but a few details that are requested.

GP

Visited your GP in the last year? fill in this survey please it is detailed and will help us provide a better service. Really? how can a survey help provide better service when what is needed is better opening times, more doctors, less waiting and a doctor who has the time of day for you. Everyone already knows this it has probably been written on thousands of surveys. Not changed a thing though.

I will stop ranting now so could you please just fill in a short survey at the bottom of this post to say how well I did.  Please leave all your details and your phone number so I can get our automated machines to phone you when you are having you dinner or are in the bath.




Tags survey, dining out, events, tickets, humour.

Monday, 17 June 2013

The Marble Church Ghost

My 200 word short Story




Arches
The Marble Church stood dramatically against the early grey of the morning sky.  The confetti still fluttered around the pathways from the weekend weddings when beautiful brides had stood smiling with their new husbands. The faint reminder of babies cries from the Sunday Christenings, and the smell of flowers on the well loved graves, made this a family place, a monument to lives lived and those lost.

The three teenage boys had spent a cold frightening night in the Lawson family crypt. This long forgotten, overgrown crypt in the corner of the graveyard had been their own private den. The place they drank cider and read girlie mags, smoked dope and fantasised about their futures. Filling them with models and fast cars, bank accounts stuffed with cash, and travel to the beaches of free love.

Cathy Lawson had listened to their young tales with interest and fascination she liked the way their eyes twinkled with excitement and their laughter.

Cathy`s coffin sat unnoticed on the shelf in the musty tomb, the boys had wondered at her fathers coffin when they first entered the crypt but not hers. She sat lonely on the shelf much like she had in life.

As the boys drank and talked, listened to their music and shared their last cigarette's.  Cathy moved the stones in the graveyard.  Cathy would keep these boys just for herself, she would listen to their stories, hopes and dreams, until they joined her on the shelf.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Magical Snowdonia (short story)



Mount Snowdonia
 
200 word short story

Magical Snowdonia


Brian cried as he walked over the heather washed hills towards Mount Snowdon. The world could be a cruel and lonely place but the mountains had always offered refuge to his heavy heart. Today was different the streams seems simply cold  and the sky oppressive as it hid the tip of Snowdon in its curtain of grey.

The rabbits scurrying from the buzzards circling overhead and hill ponies gossiped under the low trees ignoring Brian. The rocks slippy with moss made the walk difficult and Brian`s calf's began to burn with effort. He was surprised to feel anything at all today even the cold biting through his flimsy jacket.

The whiskey bottle was waiting for him, it would warm his soul when he reached the top, it would make the day seem warm and alive.

Brian sat at the summit and looked down into the clouds he felt his heart beat faster, the swirling mists lapping at his boots. Lying back to look at the sky he wanted to stay there forever, no more heartbreak, no more fear, a quick dive off the edge and it all ends.

Brian drank a tot of whiskey, breathed the frosty air, and tighten his boot laces. He began the slow decent back towards home. The mountains had once again worked their magic on Brian. He knew without doubt he could never willingly give them up.


Thursday, 13 June 2013

Charlies Ghost

Thought is was time I revived my blog so I am setting myself a challenge to write 200 word short stories.

I will be posting a photo and then attempting to write something imaginative around the photo theme.

I have just written this one here  http://www.alondontourist.com/



Steam Fair
Charlies Ghost

The flags blew gently in the breeze as the fairground prepared to open once more on the village green. The chains of the swings have been checked for any weakness and the big wheels safety bars screwed  tighter.  No-one was going to be hurt this time the rides spun, no ghost train roof would collapse or children disappear.

The noise of laughter grew louder and pink candy floss stuck to little fingers. The waltzers blasted out music and teenagers hid their illicit cigarettes in cupped hands. Fathers won teddybears by throwing darts and little girls giggled in the hall of mirrors. The sun shone warmly while clowns threw cartwheels beside a stripped tent full of sawdust and ponies.

Then the fog rose slowly over the wet grass wrapping ankles then knees in its misty thickness. Minutes later and it is hard to see at all, rides stopped and stumbling crowds followed the colourful lights towards the exit gates. 

No-one notices that Helen was gone.  The stairway to the Helter Skelter had been filled with people and Helen had just taken her turn on the spiral slide. Only the old fairground hands knew the Charlies ghost had stuck again.



Thursday, 4 April 2013

Return of the Ragman?

Unbelievable article in the guardian today

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/poli...us-enough.html


MPs complaining at £15 a day meal allowance


I and many people like me who work part-time and claim a little  housing benefit are living on £15 a week for food once bills are paid. That is if we haven`t had to use extra heating in this freezing weather. Often it is a case of living on £10 for food and putting another £5 towards the heating bill. 


Work full-time then I hear you shout, not that simple with caring responsibilities and no they do not live with me. No I don`t receive extra benefits for caring but it does restrict my ability to work longer hours. No I don`t smoke or drink. I have freeview tv and pay £6 a month for internet access.

I was born in the 50`s so I know how to live on porridge and home made soup, go to the market at the end of the day etc.  Many people do not.

I do strongly resent paying for Mps meals at all why can`t they take a packed lunch like the rest of us.

Return of the Ragman    (now called a clothing distribution centre)

When I was growing up in the 50`s my father worked as a window cleaner in the mornings and a ragman in the afternoons.  I and my brothers and sisters often went to the rag yard where he weighed in what he had collected. The woman in charge sat with a large stick near the scales and used the stick to check for bricks and stones amongst the rags. Just in case the ragman was trying to make the weight seem heavier.  I was always terrified of her she seemed so daunting to a child.

Today I took my few unwanted clothes to a ragyard and received £7 for them. I spent this in the £1 shop on household bits. A year ago I would have given them to a charity shop.  Life in Britian today for many people is much harder than many realise.

Maybe I will follow my fathers example, get some cheap toys to give the kids in return for rags and trawl the streets shouting `Any old rags!`

I have lived through hard times, three day working week, repossession in the 80`s when interest rates were sky high, job loses and divorce.  I have never taken my worn out clothes to a ragyard since I was a child.

How scary is that.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Silent Night Dream Bedroom #Springmakeover

This is a  pinterest board I made  which shows some ideas for my dream bedroom. I have used white for the bedroom furniture to keep the room feeling spacious and I like mixing old style with new.


http://pinterest.com/chrismse1/silent-night-dream-bedroom/


I like lilac colours and purple so I have used some coloured cushions and a rug to keep my room cosy.  The huge white mirror  will reflect light and looks amazing along one wall. Lilac bedding is my favourite so I would have lots this and some fabulous throws. The striking picture on the wall is a nod to my love of theatre and complements the colours of the bedding and rug.

For my bed I have chosen the 6ft Amsterdam Divan with deep firm mattress
further details here:

http://shop.silentnight.co.uk/divan-beds/amsterdam-divan-bed-6.html

I liked the simple divan style and the comfortable deep mattress has a memory foam topping for extra comfy sleep.


Amsterdam Divan Bed (6') - Beds

or this fabulous bed that the winner will receive would be wonderful in my bedroom.




‘This blog post is part of the Silentnight Spring Bedroom Makeover Challenge



My current bedroom is dark and has bedroom furniture that I bought over thirty years ago so its desperate for an update.  I think like most mums our space is always last in the queue after new football boots and school uniforms.
I am sure Allyson Houghton the ideas and design consultant at Silentnight would have lots of stunning ideas for my room.



Part of my bedroom



This photo shows part of my current bedroom which is in desperate need of an update.





My other blog http://alondontourist.com
twitter  @chrismse1

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Bedroom Tax


What is happening is that for people who rent council houses/flats AND receive housing benefit
their housing benefit will be calculated from the number of bedrooms they are assessed to need
(for example - a married couple with no kids will be assessed as needing 1 bedroom)
They will then receive housing benefit appopriate for a house/flat with that number of bedrooms in the area they live.
(so a married couple will receive housing benefit appropriate for a 1 bed house/flat)
They can live in a 3 bed house if they want, but they will ONLY receive housing benefit for a 1 bed house. If that aint enough to pay the rent then THEY will have to pay any additional amount.necessary. OR they can move to somewhere cheaper.
As previous answer ALL that happening is the amount of housing benefit they receive is being changed to what they are assessed to NEED, the number of rooms/bedrooms where they live is irrelevent.
NOBODY is being "charged" anything
NOBODY is going to come along and say "ah - you have got 2 bedrooms and you only need 1 therefore we are going to charge you extra"
What they ARE going to do is assess what you need and say "Ah - we have assessed your needs and you need (say)1 bedroom" therefore you entitled to this much housing benefit. Where you live is up to you but you aint getting any more than this".

All that is happening is that the rules for those who rent council houses and receive housing benefit are being made the same as for those.who live in private rented houses, and THESE rules have applied to THEM for 2 years.

(the 1st answer is completely wriong
The number of bedrooms where you live is IRRELEVENT- and the amount of housing benefit you receive will be determined by what you are assessed to need,.If you are assessed to need 1 bedroom then that sets the amount of housing benefit you will get- end of story
It dont matter HOW many bedrooms it has - if you live in a house and the rent is £100 but you only receive £50 in housing benefit then you will have to pay the additional £50
If the rent is £125- then YOU will have to pay the additional £75
If its £50 then you dont have to pay an additional penny.)

 (taken from BBC news site)

What will happen to the thousands of carers who need to sleep in a separate room, or who need to have a room available is anyones guess!

Also the mass assumption that the council has endless one bed flats for everyone to move into is laughable.  THEY ARE NOT AVAILABLE!!

 So if someone is in a council two bedroom flat and the rent is £500 per month, they lose housing benefit  that they have no way of making up.  They then  go into a private one bedroom flat that costs £650.00 per month and have it all paid from housing benefit.   Crazy!

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Book Review - `Gone Girl` by Gillian Flynn

Archie braves the snow


I have just finished reading `Gone Girl` by Gillian Flynn which I was given along with a few other books at the recent National Book Awards in London. I haven`t read either of Flynns previous books so I was looking forward to reading this thriller.

After a few chapters you begin to hate Nick Dunne who is cheating on his wife and lounging in a bar bought with her money.  Amy his wife has gone missing and signs of struggle at her home lead police to believe she may be dead. They build their case slowly around Nick who is the only suspect. Amy`s parents have cashed in on Amy since she was born writing successful books about every stage of her life. When sales drop they drain money from her trust fund. 

Then the plot twists and the spotlight falls on Amy herself who far from being a victim is after revenge. Amy has plotted her own crime scene for over a year, the time Nick has been cheating with the young Andre.

The web is further complicated by past friends of Amy`s, Go Nicks twin and Andre herself. Into the mix comes the ruthless lawyer Tanner and some long ago frozen sperm.

The book has you baffled as you try to guess the end surely a good thing in a crime thriller.  I liked the book it is worth a read.




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Sunday, 13 January 2013

Review - `Lone Wolf `by Jodie Picoult


Archie

 Time to make a New Year resolution to review the books I read, can`t believe I haven`t posted on this blog since Halloween! Archie will be my mascot this year he is my sons dog and is a real character. I will include a photo of him each time I post on the blog.


I will start with `Lone Wolf `
by Jodie Picoult


`Lone Wolf `tells the story of a self taught wolf expert who by his adventurous life has split his family apart.  The cast include a remarried ex-wife, a son who ran at 18 to a life abroad and a tomboy daughter who lives with him.

As he fights for his life after a car crash his family battle with the doctors advice to turn off the systems breathing for him. The  family pull each other apart over what to do and who has the right to make the decision. Brother and sister battle each other in court as the wolves in the santurary howl for their friend.

You will need to read the book to find out the ending as I really don`t like reviews that tell you the whole story.


Jodie Picoults trade mark writing of family battles and hard decisions once again weave into an excellent story. She is a master of family dramas.


books books books!  http://www.bl.uk