Monthly Archives: December 2016

Things are no better

Dear Mum & Dad

It’s been weeks now since we came home and found Janine collapsed on the settee.

Since that day – the day they took her to hospital – there has been no change in her at all.  When we ask, all the doctors will say is that ‘her condition is stable’. What on earth does that mean?  She hasn’t moved or flickered an eyelid since they took her into hospital!

To look at her, though, she hasn’t changed one bit.  She is still as beautiful as ever.

I can’t say the same for the flat though!  That has disintegrated into its old state of untidiness.  None of us have the urge to keep up the standards our lovely Janine set.

We are frightened about it all.  All we want is our lovely Janine to get better and come home.



A disaster befalls us

Dear Mum & Dad

We have a disaster! Janine has been taken ill and we don’t know what is wrong. When we got home yesterday we found her lying on the settee. She was breathing perfectly but seemed to respond to nothing. She seemed to be in a coma of some sort.

We called the Doctor and he got here pretty quickly.  He checked her very thoroughly but could not work out was wrong. As a result they have taken her into intensive care and we have told them to spare no expense in getting her better.

We are all very worried about our Janine – and I’m certainly not being called, or feeling, Happy!

Our major problem now is visiting time. They won’t let the seven of us in together.  At first that caused some agro at the hospital.  No-one would believe that she lived with seven fellers at the flat – and when we told them that we did not know Janine’s home address, or her surname, or anything about her family they got very iffy!

‘Our’ Doctor told them that we were telling the truth and they, a bit grudgingly though, said that it was OK for us to visit Janine – BUT only one at a time.

Well it’s my turn to visit tonight so I’m off.  I’ll keep you up-to-date with how things progress.

Pray for Janine please mum. We’d all be lost without her now.

no longer ‘Happy’, Albert


Love is in the air – times seven

Dear Mum and Dad

I think I am in love. 

Trouble is – so are the other six guys. Grumpy has lost his ‘grumps’; Sleepy gets up an hour earlier; Doc has reduced Sneezy’s problem; Bashful is prepared to talk and me – well I’m just HAPPY.  That just leaves Dopey – and we are all envious of him because Janine thinks he is ‘sweet’!

Janine is a treasure.  She’s pretty good looking as well!

You would not believe the change she has made in all our lives.  Now the place is always spotless.  All of us are now perfectly house trained.  We take turns in the chores to help Janine.  She only has to mention that something needs doing and we all fight to see who does it.

The only drawback is that we are all putting on weight!

She makes us all have breakfast before we go out and has a super three-course meal waiting for us when we get home.

Honestly – the day we all agreed she should stay rent free, in exchange for her cooking and cleaning, was the best day’s work we have all done in a long time.

Hope to see you soon


The ‘lady’ takes charge

Hello folks

Just a quick note.

Would you believe it?  We’ve got new frilly, flowered, curtains up in all of the windows now.  There are also vases of flowers all over the place and everyone is now a non-smoker – Janine does not approve.

Oh, that’s her name by the way.  Nice name really, isn’t it?

One thing you’ll be pleased to hear Mum, I’ve just had clean sheets on my bed for the third week running.

Well, must close now – it’s my turn to lay the table for supper.

I don’t know what we’re eating but it certainly smells nice.   Bye..




This girl is a pain

Dear folks

Do you remember the girl I told you about?  Well …. one week and we’re fed up with her already.  She is a pain.  Within a couple of days she has cleaned the whole place up.  None of us could find a thing!   That was bad enough – but now it’s ……

“Take your shoes off in the hall!”

“Don’t bring those dirty tools in here.”

“Wash your hands before you eat.”

All the lads are finding it tiresome.

Well must go now – dinner’s on the table and its home-made steak & kidney pie with fresh vegetables and apple pie and custard to follow.

I’ll write again soon




Snow White gets a job

Dear folks

You will be pleased to hear that things are looking up at the flat.  The vacant eighth place has been taken – by a girl!

She’s a strange person.  She seems to be lost or trying to escape from something or other.

We know nothing about her except that she seems a decent sort and offered to cook and clean for us all in exchange for free board and keep.  She said she had nowhere to go and no money at the moment to pay rent.

We had a quick conflab and agreed to a three-month trial period.  Time will tell if it works out.

Your loving son


Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – 2016 style

In the year 1812 the Brothers Grimm published the first edition of their collection ‘Grimms’ Fairy Tales’ .  In it, among others, was the story of Snow White.

This story is based on that classic of times gone by.

At the beginning of that story, a humble queen sits sewing at an open window during a winter snowfall when she pricks her finger with her needle, causing three drops of red blood to drip onto the freshly fallen white snow on the black windowsill.

Then, she says to herself: “How I wish that I had a daughter that had skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood, and hair as black as ebony.” Sometime later, the Good Queen gives birth to a baby daughter whom she names Snow White.  Unfortunately the Queen dies shortly after.

A year later, Snow White’s father, the King, takes a second wife, who is very beautiful, but a wicked and vain woman. The new queen, Snow White’s evil stepmother, possesses a Magic Mirror, which she asks every morning:

“mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?”

The mirror always answers: “My Queen, you are the fairest one of all.”

The Queen is always pleased with that, because the magic mirror never lies. But as Snow White grows up, she becomes more beautiful each day and even more beautiful than the Queen, and when the Queen asks her mirror, it says;

“My Queen, you are the fairest here so true. But Snow White is a thousand times more beautiful than you.”

As if by magic, there have been some changes over the years: this one is mine.

Allotments 1917 style

Back in 2002 I was a part-time tutor for the Worker’s Education Association and, after one series of talks, one of my audience kindly allowed me to copy some essays written by her mother in 1917. I felt they were worth publication and was given a freedom to proceed providing creditation was given to her mother who would be 100 on 4th August 2002.  I was very happy to agree with that.  Unfortunately things didn’t go quite as planned from my end and the world never had a chance to read some of the writings of Nelly Gladys Lant age 15. Fortunately I kept those photocopies the family kindly gave me.  A lot has happened since then – but Nelly’s essay on Allotments written on 21st May 1917 remains:

One of the most patriotic a man can do in the present crisis is to work on an allotment. It is wonderful to see the amount of land now being cultivated, which in prewar days was used for pleasure or wasted.
The allotment holder has one great advantage over other men, this great advantage is health.  Health is a precious jewel nowadays, a man who has health is far more able to be of use to the country, if he has such a belonging, than a man who has not.
At the bottom of my garden there is an allotment, and every evening I watch the men, and even their wives busy working, resembling bees in their activity.  The man who before the war used to get up just in time to hurry to his work, now gets up about five o’clock in the morning.

I think that allotments are one of the greatest boons of the war.

A new beginning


Followers will recall that I have been ‘off air’ for most of this year for one reason and another.  What those reasons were are neither here nor there.  What is important is that I’m up and running with my blogs.  My talkinghistory blog has been running for a day or so – this telling stories blog starts when I post this – closely followed by a story that was all but ready for posting when I went ‘off air’.

So – that’s the intro to a return to telling stories – over the days and weeks and months ahead some will be fact while many others will be fiction.  The first one – Allotments 1917 style – is fact!