Category Archives: Creative Writing

Another Invitation of Sorts [Tales From Luddley-cum-Mogwash, Part 44]

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Bottled Temptation

Moonchild Etherington-Smythe, owner of the Viridian Venus gallery, gathers the post from the doormat as she breezes into her colourful domain causing the tassels on her sequined scarf to fly in her wake. She is no longer just a small time gallery owner; thanks to her huge online profile [13 million followers on Instagram and 50,000 Likes on her Facebook page] she is now also responsible for running a network of crafty workshops across the UK, and Malta. Workshops include: Whittling Abstract Spoons [spoons without handles and vice versa]; How To Express The Sound Of A Vacuum Cleaner Through The Medium Of Paint [ever popular]; How To Write Like A Two Year Old [inky fun, no previous experience necessary, only £60 per head]; AND, Generic Retailing [how to sell new-found skills online within five minutes of learning them]. Moonchild is proud of her artistic success. She is proud to be such a creative inspiration for so many people and, she is proud to be at the apex of the crafting pyramid.

Moonchild flicks through her mail before taking off her velvet coat and flinging it on the counter. A grey envelope draws her attention, she turns it over and caresses her name and address with her stubby ring stuffed fingers. The address feels raised, as if embossed.

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A Peculiar E

Moonchild is familiar with the craft of calligraphy, she smiles and nods approvingly as her eyes settle on a distinctive, wonky ‘g’, and the curvy, very peculiar ‘E’. Someone after my own heart, she thinks. She pauses and decides against tearing the envelope with her fingernails, instead she takes a pair of mini pinking shears from beneath the counter and carefully cuts a neat row of shark teeth across the top of the envelope. She tries to guess the nature of the invitation, because surely this has to be an invitation?
Within the envelope there are two pieces of brown cardboard taped together to protect the inner content. Moonchild snorts and expertly makes short shrift of the tape, she tosses the cardboard into the bin and places a black and white photograph of a bottle on top of her velvet coat.
What sort of game is this? She wonders. She turns the photograph over to reveal a scribbled time, date, and address: 8pm, 21st November 2045, Mogwash Village Hall, Mogwash. As a squally wind causes the gallery door to swing open, a memory recollects, and Moonchild is chilled to the bone.

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A Bad Memory?

Lucky You…..

….or not so lucky.

I did used to enjoy writing those old advert posts, but over the past few years I have been consumed by calligraphy, and, to be fair, I haven’t seen many adverts that I’ve felt inspired by. Is it my jaded old brain or the new swathe of boring adverts that are to blame? Bit of both I reckon. Also I have a tendency to be scrolling through my iPad whilst the adverts are on so maybe I should pay more attention?

Anyhow, here is an old advert post from 2011.

Due to the sluggish financial market the Halifax staff have little to do. They are under strict instruction to only authorise two mortgages this year and can only lend to people who don’t need loans. The financial advisers have all been made redundant and now the entire business is propped up by the canteen staff who have diversified by setting up a radio station in the basement of an NCP car park in Buttocks Booth just off Lumbertubs Lane. They broadcast daily, via telegraphic transfer, to five mountain goats on a farm in Southwold, Suffolk.
Scottish widow Sandy and Co-operative Carol provide the morning entertainment with a breakfast show. They are a tight team; they have a mutual interest in investing extra digits in their hedge funds and have bonded over unit banking. Alas, they are so enamoured by one another that they have failed to notice the potential threat of a hostile takeover bid from tea boy, Derek. He has coveted their breakfast slots from afar and, in an effort to remove the women from the helm he has sabotaged Sandy’s liquid assets. He completes the arm’s length transaction by passing Sandy her mug. The mug handle breaks causing hot tea to spill across the mixing desk. Carol and Sandy are unfazed by life’s little dramas. They have each other and therefore the accelerated depreciation is negligible. They smile sweetly and, still laughing, still singing from the same spreadsheet, they tell Derek that life is better with a beaver.

And to finish on a topical note a little gilded insult from Lulu’s suggestion on a previous post,

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Trump?

NEXT TIME: Under the weight of all the books, the chair breaks, leading Ms Scarlet to enrol on a chair restoration course where she meets a man in a bobble hat who offers her a hobnob and a cup of tea from his tartan themed thermos flask….

Another Book on a Chair

I thought I would share the view from my bathroom. I was fully dressed when I took this photograph – it is a bit fuzzy because I was trying to zoom in on the flax fields. Yes, I sometimes sit in my bath and pretend these are fields of lavender and that I’m in France.

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A Bathroom with a view….

And here is another picture of a book on a chair seeing as the book on the chair in my previous post proved so popular. I have decided that ‘A book on a chair’ is my new thing. This is The Illusionists by Rosie Thomas – a jolly romp through Victorian London theatre land. As I’m reading I am envisioning Clark Gable in the lead role alongside Warwick Davis and Jenna Coleman, plus my envisioning is in black and white and was made in 1939. I am on page 284 (of 513) and the obligatory reference to Jack the Ripper has just turned up.

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Book on chair…

Meanwhile, I have finished this. I am not happy with it. It is suffering from Kolner Miniatum pucker…. meaning the surface of the gold is wrinkly; this is probably because I applied the miniatum too thickly – or because I didn’t breathe on it correctly and therefore introduced unnecessary moisture to the surface before applying the leaf. Ack. This is a fuzzy photo to deliberately disguise my shortcomings.

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Finished….

I am happy with this though….

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Addressed….

Until next time when I will have another book on a chair.

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Catching Up…..

As it was sunny Charmaine brought the Rolls round to the front of the house in preparation for a trip to the seaside; after a buff and polish with Mr Sheen the old girl was ready for her first outing of the season. The sun shone, birds pooped on the windscreen, whilst Charmaine crunched gears, narrowly missed hitting small children and got her flip-flop caught on the accelerator. Finally we arrived at our destination in time for our first lesson in stone balancing…..

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Well balanced…

Sadly, after believing I had a natural talent for this sort of thing I was expelled from the workshop. Apparently the use of superglue was not considered to be a viable option.

I returned to the Rolls to read my book, leaving Charmaine to frolic in the surf and hopefully dislodge the pebble that had balanced itself on her forehead.
After 5 hours of solid reading in variable light with no interruptions for ice cream, fish’n’chips, or anything cheerful, I finished the damn book. And it was a damn book. This one…

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The Visitors

The Visitors by Sally Beauman. 540 words of misery; death; more misery; a bit of tragedy chucked in just to make it even more miserable; only one miserly paragraph alluding to sex; grumpy men looking for treasure; posh people stealing from Egyptian tombs; death; more death; typhoid; TB; DEATH. I think the book might have been about death. Set in the valley of the kings it was hardly going to be about the life and soul of the party [she was murdered early on]. Good grief. On the plus side it was extremely well written.

SO…. after finishing the book Charmaine drove me home, sans pebble but with an unsightly weeping wound on her forehead, where I decided that I should photograph this piece of work that has been gathering dust in my studio for the past two weeks begging to be finished….

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Gold witterings…

I am slapping this picture in this post with the promise that I will finish this piece for next week’s blog post. AND THERE WILL BE A BLOG POST NEXT WEEK.

I thank you.

A Musical Interlude

Dr. Clive Mutterfort DGM, MRCOG, MClinPscychol, MFFP, DCH, PhD, GCSE looked up from his colouring book and gestured for me to be seated on the Chesterfield sofa opposite his desk. After 30 minutes or so he packed away his crayons and gave me his full attention.

‘Oh, I’m so sorry, I don’t appear to be relevant to this post; there seems to have been some sort of administrative cock-up.’ He said, rummaging through my medical notes, ‘Oh… hang on a moment…. there is this… it was delivered last week… it’s a meme from some chap called Mr Device, he’s requesting answers to some devilishly difficult questions in reference to your musical memories…. just relax and answer as truthfully as possible…. no need to answer with proper sentences or complicated grammar… just say the first thing that comes into your head.’

I leant back in the sofa, closed my eyes, and prepared myself for unconscious waffle. I heard Dr Mutterfort unscrewing his hip flask before asking, ‘What does music mean to you?

I frowned and concentrated hard. ‘Music can be a better representation of emotion than words… music reaches further than the mind.’

‘Is that all you’ve got to say?’ Asked Dr Mutterfort.

‘Yes, let’s not get too soppy…or philosophical.’

I heard Dr Mutterfort polishing his golf clubs, eating a blueberry muffin from M&S, and ironing a shirt. He was obviously thinking about Freud, but was desperate not to show it.

‘WHAT IS YOUR FIRST MUSIC RELATED MEMORY?’ Shouted Dr Mutterfort in my left ear, taking me completely by surprise.

‘Erm…. Arthur Askey…. And His Silly Little Songs, specifically The Bee Song….

…my mum had a portable record player, which was the size of a small suitcase. The speakers made up the lid and were detachable. It was possible to stack several records on the turntable so that when one had finished there was another ready to drop down to be played. I used to spend hours sitting on the sofa eating Opal Fruits whilst listening to records, Arthur Askey was a favourite along with Peter and the Wolf, Lady and the Tramp, and The Jungle Book.’

There was a long silence and I pondered whether Dr M had left the room.

‘Are you still there, Dr Mutterfort? DR MUTTERFORT????’

‘So sorry, my child, I had cottonwool stuffed in my ears, shall we move on swiftly to the next question….What was the first album you ever purchased yourself?

‘Do I have to say???? Really????? Do I have to??? Okay, well seeing as you asked it was David Essex. I bought it with my birthday money. To be fair I didn’t really like David Essex but my older sister did, and I bought it in an effort to appear grown up. I was 9. The track called ‘Window’ scared the living daylights out of me so as soon as ‘Gonna Make You a Star’ had finished I’d run to the record player and lift the needle to skip it….

….I think it must have been all the screaming at the end that chilled me and I….”

‘Yes, yes, yes… I think we get the idea, can we move on… what is the latest music you purchased?

‘One Strike by All Saints….’

I could hear Dr Mutterfort bopping around the consulting room. It was obvious that he was liking All Saints. Sounding out of breath he flopped back in the seat behind his desk before asking me the final question, ‘What is he very last song you listened to before writing this post?

‘Cake by the Ocean by DNCE…. it’s difficult not to hear this at the moment because it’s officially played on the radio after every ten minutes….

….and it features cake, so what’s not to love?’

I could hear Dr Mutterfort’s eyebrows creak as he raised them, ‘I don’t think it means actual cake.’ He replied.

I sighed, read through the post I’d just written, and wondered what Arthur Askey would have made of DNCE.

If anyone would like to do this Meme then please feel free to do so. Ay-Thang-Yaw.

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The Dramatic Entrance….

Charmaine has returned home from her stint at being a genius crossword compiler. Apparently there was an ‘incident’ at Cousin Windsor’s [a right Batarde] that she will not speak of. Knowing my Cousin Windsor, trying to forget about it is the best way forward, and I will not press her further for information. With her she brought a picnic basket, which upon arrival she dumped in the hallway before ascending to her rightful place in my attic. Such a pity that in her absence the attic sprang a leak, so it came as no surprise to hear her shouting, screaming, and possibly stamping a bit before stomping back downstairs to disturb my revelry by bursting into my studio in an overtly stroppy manner.

‘What is the problem, child?’ I asked, barely looking up from whatever I was looking at.

‘The roof is leaking, all my clothes are soaked through and there is bird poo all over my vintage bakelite collection. And I bet you haven’t paid this?’

Charmaine stood in front of my desk waving a piece of paper. It was the electricity bill. I smiled wanly as the lights dimmed and then went out.

‘Obvously not,’ I said.

‘There’s nothing else for it, Aunt Scarlet, you’ll have to reopen the wedding calligraphy business, we can’t carry on living like this.’

And I said, ‘NO, NO, NO!’

I sighed, she did have a point, I had rather let things slide over the past five months, and it was true the roof was leaking, the paint was peeling and, much much worse than this, we were running out of gruel. Thankfully, at the back of my mind I had a spare plan.
I looked Charmaine up and down and considered how much money I could get for her if I advertised her dextrous skills on the right type of Internet site. She could look quite fetching in the dark, it suited her skin tone.

‘NO, NO, NO!’ Shrieked Charmaine as if reading my blog post over my shoulder as I typed.

‘Well, what do you suggest we do?’

‘These,’ said Charmaine, stabbing my latest creations with her stumpy index finger, ‘flog these, everybody loves a bit of gold and a bit of bling.’

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Flog these???

‘How?’

‘Don’t worry, Aunt Scarlet, leave the marketing to me, I have ideas, and Asmodeus will help.’

With the hazy image of Asmodeus hanging in the air, Charmaine flounced out of my studio in a purposeful, determined, #girlboss sort of way. Who the hell was Asmodeus? I shook my head dismissively. The girl had obviously gone a bit peculiar, but still, her positive ‘can do’ attitude had made me feel uneasy. Cousin Windsor had obviously instilled these ideas, ideas that were well above her station, and possibly above the steeple at the end of the lane, which was very high above indeed. I shuddered in my seat and felt a little faint because if she was successful it would mean that I would [heaven forbid] have to work.

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Work in progress…

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Now c ‘ere…