Category Archives: Love

Rubbish

Jim was NOT happy. ‘Have you seen that rubbish down the road? It’s disgusting – and what’s the bloody council doing about it? Nothing! Not one bloody thing.’
‘Don’t worry Jim, it’ll be all gone by the time you get back from your golf.’
‘Who’s going to do that then? You I suppose. You’re daft – all of you. Stupid, daft women with nothing better to do than do the council’s dirty work – for nothing.’ With that he picked up his golf bag and left – slamming the door behind him.

‘Men,’ murmured Rosemary to herself as she cleared away the breakfast things. ‘It’s a good job there are women in this world.’

The telephone rang. ‘Mrs Bradshaw?’ a voice asked.     ‘Speaking.’
‘Rosemary?’     ‘Yes Peter.’
‘All ready for today?’     ‘Of course.’
‘One o’clock at the recycling plant then?’     ‘Certainly; I’ll be there.’

The line went dead and she replaced the handset.  ‘Right Rosemary; let’s get this show on the road’ she chuckled.

Half an hour later she and three other ladies were busily picking up the roadside rubbish that so annoyed Jim. The council provided bags were soon filled as the four worked their way along ‘Rosemary’s’ road. That done, they repeated the exercise along four more roads before stopping for a break.

Back in Rosemary’s kitchen the conversation was on just one subject – the rubbish they had just bagged up.  ‘We agreed with the council that we would gather the bags for each road into piles at convenient places for the men to collect them. Are we still happy with this?’  There was total agreement.

‘Right ladies, let’s get it finished and ready for them.’
It didn’t take long, and the four were soon standing admiring their work.  ‘Thank you very much ladies, your help has been great. I’ve got all the paperwork so I’ll take that down to the recycling centre later this morning. Have a nice day.’
Rosemary’s three helpers headed for home but she had one more job to do before setting off to the recycling centre. The job took her a quarter of an hour or so and, with that done, she gathered together various other things she needed; left a brief note for Jim and headed off to the recycling centre.

Peter was at his desk. Rosemary handed over the ‘Ladies Tidy Campaign’ papers.  ‘Looks good,’ he said. ‘The lads have called in and reported that the bags have been picked up as planned, and the whole area looks great. Everyone on those roads will be very pleased with what you have done. May I buy you some lunch? You deserve it.’
‘Well thank you kind sir; I accept your invitation. Shall we go in my car?’
‘Yes please. The council gets annoyed when their cars are used for social purposes. Is there room for my case?’

As they drove out of the council gates Jim was arriving home from his golf.  He was not happy with the pile of full rubbish bags blocking his drive.

He was even less happy with Rosemary’s note saying ‘Goodbye’!

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My Friend Jack

When they come for me, tell them that I want to be buried with Jack; right beside him; wrapped around him just as close as I can be.  I will need the comfort that only he could give me.

Jack was always around but I never gave him a second glance. I wasn’t in to that sort of thing. Besides, I had my hands full.

Two teenagers, a dog and a busy husband never really left me with much time of my own.  Before I knew it the kids were gone and I was looking forward to time for myself.  But Life doesn’t always work like that; she had other plans for me.

I was the last to know that Bert, my busy Bert, had been otherwise engaged with Donna, his coach at the tennis club.  He had been busy for the last four years but I had been too busy to see it.

It wasn’t messy; it wasn’t noisy; it wasn’t tear-filled – he just didn’t come home one evening.

Now I had time – and space – and a void.  That’s when I thought of Jack. The first time I sought refuge in Jack was on a dark but cloudless evening.

The moon was my witness.

The fingers of shadows were starting to lengthen and I reached out to Jack. Isn’t it funny how you always remember your first time – even if you don’t want that recollection?

It wasn’t easy at first, getting to know Jack – but the soothing feeling he gave me felt so familiar, like being wrapped in my mother’s arms and rocked to sleep.

So he did – every evening at sunset – just like clockwork.

An hour, sometimes two, of mellowed quiet, cocooned in amber.

Jack didn’t let me think, he didn’t let me feel. There was no pain; no ecstasy; no anguish – just a peace that overtook me; overwhelmed me, as we melted into one.

And slowly I needed Jack more – to begin my day, to rest at noon, to end my day.

To go down the street, there to eat and drink – and to gaze out of the window.

We went far; we stayed near; he never left my side.

Jack gave me so much and asked nought in return.

 

 

Jack Daniels – I love you- xxxxxxx     

Now she’s home she said she’s leaving!

Yesterday, after Janine and Peter had told us about their past, we were all very very happy.  We were still all for telling the police but it was decided that no-one would believe us anyway.

Now – today – Peter and Janine told us that they have decided to go to Australia so that Janine’s step-mother will never be able to find her.  Not only that – they are going to get married! 

She has given us a letter for us to deliver to her father but we are not to do that until one month after they have left here – and that is this coming Wednesday!  In other words – by the time anyone knows anything about all of this they will be married and living somewhere in that faraway country.

We shall miss her, and hate to see her go, but it’s her life.  We shall just have to knuckle down and keep the flat up to the standard she would expect.

Janine is home!

Dear Folks

Janine is home!  We had all set to and made the place spotless for her …. we just couldn’t let her come back to the mess we’d allowed the place to become could we!  Peter was here from the hospital and it is great having her back.  We don’t know how long she’ll stay though.   With us all together for the first time we heard the whole story of their ‘friendship’.
Apparently Peter and Janine have known each other for a long time.  Both their families are quite well off and it seems Peter and Janine sort of kept bumping into each other at social events.  Friendship grew into fondness and then into love.  Unfortunately Janine’s mother died around this time and it really knocked her father sideways.  Janine had to give up virtually everything to keep him afloat.

Just after then, Peter’s parents moved abroad on business and he went with them.  He and Janine kept in touch by letter but ob saw nothing of each other.  Janine’s father got over his deep depression and then rushed into a second marriage after an instant romance.
Apparently Janine’s step-mother and her struck sparks off each other from day one.  They argued about everything, especially Janine’s friends and particularly Peter.  It finally got to the stage where her step-mother was tearing up all Peter’s letters before Janine ever saw them.

Janine was still writing to Peter but – she thought – never getting a reply.  What with that and constant rows with her step mother she finally walked out without telling anyone.  That was when she turned up here – with us.
It appears that her step-mother wouldn’t let it stop there though.  She got a private detective to track her down.  He finally found her here and reported back.  That’s what caused Janine’s problem.  She came to see her, claiming that she wanted to make it up with her.  She had brought some apples for them to share.  Like a fool Janine believed her.  The apple had obviously been tampered with in some way because Janine could remember biting it but nothing else until she heard Peter’s voice yesterday.

The whole room went silent as each thought of what the two had gone through.  It was Grumpy that broke the silence.  ‘Disgusting’ he said, then, ‘anyone for tea or coffee?’

It really and quickly brought us back to the real world.  Orders were place and everyone started talking to everyone.  We were and are all so pleased to have ‘our’ Janine back.

Bye for now

Love Albert

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.

Love
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

Albert

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.

World War 2 and my Aunt Stella

Aunt Stella had always been quiet about what she had done during the 1939/45 war. Born in 1922 she was just 17 when the war started. I was born in 1941 and, in 1946 when the war was over, I fell in love with her – and I told her so when she gave me my birthday present that year.

I often asked her to tell me about what she did in the war – but she always found an excuse not to. There had never been an ‘Uncle Stella’ either as far as I could recall. That was a shame because she was beautiful.

But now she had passed on and had left me a beautiful box – a wooden walnut box with golden coloured handles and its own lock. It was one she had always kept in a cupboard. I had asked her what was in it many times when I was younger but she always gave me the same answer: ‘Never you mind young lad. When I’ve gone to my maker that box will be yours.’

I had frequently tried to open it, but I could never find the key. Whenever I asked her for the key she would say: ‘No, you don’t need that lad’ or ‘I don’t know where it is. I suppose I’ve lost it. But – there’s nothing in it anyway.’

Those little question and answer session had long since ended and now she had gone – but there was still no key! The box didn’t feel too heavy so I assumed there was little or nothing inside; and it would be a shame to break it open so I put it on the shelf in my study and got on with living.

It was some three weeks later when I received a letter from Aunt Stella’s solicitor asking me to visit him to close off some details of her will. I thought that it had all been completed but solicitors are the boss at times like these, so did as was asked. What did puzzle me, though, was the request that I bring the box with me. What was that all about? Whatever it was, I would soon find out.

When I had first visited the solicitors I had seen Mr Kent, a junior member of the practice. This time I was seeing Mr Bainbridge, the practice owner.

‘Ah, you’ve brought the box I see,’ he said. ‘Good. In closing off Ms Baxter’s papers I found this in an envelope’. He held up a small golden coloured key tied to a scruffy looking piece of card. ‘I think, I hope, this will fit your box.’

He handed it to me; I tried it in the lock; it worked! I carefully lifted the lid and looked inside. There was not much to see – just three envelopes. One was brown and of indeterminate age. It was sealed with red wax and stamped across the front were the words: ‘British Resistance Organisation – open only in emergency’.

Another was much newer and was marked ‘To be opened after my death in the presence of my solicitor by my nephew Alan Williamson.’

Ignoring a third, small, white envelope, I handed the box and contents back to Mr Bainbridge. He placed it on his desk and passed the newest of the envelopes back to me. It was in Aunty Stella’s writing. I carefully opened it.

It said, simply:
You often asked what I did in the war. Open the other envelope and it will give you some idea. You often asked me why I never married. Now I will tell you that – my man’s name was Christopher. He was also a member of the BRO. One day he came back – dead. After the war you were the man for me. You always made me cheerful when I was sad. You were my light – then and in my later years as well. I remember after the war you telling me that you were in love with me. I am sure that you know how much I loved you Alan Williamson.’

 There was nothing I could say. I felt tears in my eyes as I handed the note over to Mr Bainbridge.

He read it then looked up at me ‘I think we could do with some coffee?’

I nodded as he pressed a button on his desk. We sat there deep in thought until a lady brought in the coffee. She placed the tray on the side table, looked at us and left quietly.

‘How do you like your coffee?’ Mr Bainbridge asked. ‘Black please’ I managed in reply.

It seemed to be quite some time that we sat there with our coffee. No doubt it was not too rare for Mr Bainbridge to experience the situation. He looked at me. ‘Would you like to open the British Resistance Organisation envelope here or would you rather wait until you are at home?’

I looked at him. His face was patient. ‘I think I would like to open it here, now, if I may; if you have the time’.

He nodded. ‘Please take all the time you need Mr Williamson. I was very fond of your aunt and she was very fond of you.’

I was not sure what I expected to discover in the brown envelope with the red wax seal. Since Aunt Stella’s death I had been trying to piece together what it would have been like for her.

In this second envelope there were various pieces of newspapers. A scrap told of the Nazi taking of the Channel Islands. There were also a couple of newspaper pieces on the risk of the German’s landing on the mainland but little else. Anything else would be secret anyway and Aunt Stella would not have had access to major risky situations like that anyway.

I was about to put everything back in the box and let Mr Bainbridge get on with his work when I noticed the other envelope. It was quite small with no writing on it. No wonder I had missed it. I picked it up and carefully opened it. Inside was a photograph – the only thing in the envelope. A young, male face looked out at me.

I turned the photograph over and, just visible, were the words: ‘Love you. See you soon. Chris xxx’.

 

NOTES

The ‘BRO’ Aunty Stella mentions was the ‘British Resistance Organisation’.

The above is a complete fictional story based on a factual situation. You will find the factual element of the story on my other blog: ‘talkinghistory2013’

My proofreading wife has told me that a similar story of a box has been running in one of the ‘soaps’ that she watches! I plead complete ignorance on this.

The story of a ‘biggish’ house

Before I tell you this story I should introduce you to my family:  My name is Albert Forester – not a name that you would normally expect for the owner of a pile like this. It makes sense, though, when you go back over my family tree.

I was born in 1950; my father was born in 1910 and died quite recently; my grandfather was born in 1880 and died in 1943 in an air raid. His father, my great grandfather, was born around 1840 – the illegitimate son of Alice the wayward daughter of Sir William St John and Charles, the young man who looked after the woodlands of the estate – he was the Forester. Match the date with the husband of Queen Victoria and you get the baptismal name of my Great Grandfather – Albert Forester. That has been the given name of the first-born son ever since.

The male line of the St Johns got weaker over the years until the last of the line passed away 9 years ago. The powers that be finally established me as the most appropriate member of the bloodline to inherit the house. I got the house but I didn’t get the ‘Sir’ status. So …. Thornhill Hall is now the legal property of Albert Forester Esq. and his charming wife Samantha. Who will inherit when I pass on? That may be interesting as we have twin boys – Patrick and Robert – and none of us are quite sure which was born first. In fact, there are times when Sam and I can’t tell which is which even now!

Following the death of Sir William the Great House was more like a Great Shell. From the outside it was all there but inside the heart was missing. Don’t get me wrong – it wasn’t devoid of buildings, or of occupation. This was all there. Someone returning from 100, 200 or even 300 years ago would have recognised it – would know it. As I said, it was the heart that was missing – and it was now my aim, my job, to get that heart beating again.

What we should do with Thornhill Hall was our first decision to make. Sam’s suggestion was to demolish it and sell the stone.
‘No can do – it’s a Grade 2 listed building.’
Suggestion two was to sell it.

Another ‘no can do’. There’s a nasty clause, according to the solicitors, that says it cannot be sold while a male heir can be found!
There was nothing for it then; we had to make a go of it ourselves.
It was Sam who had the idea – ‘let’s open it to the public. There are lots of places that have done it.’
‘It’ll be hell’, I said but, as usual, I came second in the ‘discussion’.

The first year was exciting though. We visited many houses – mainly the smaller ones – that were open to the public. These gave us ideas – and some worries as well. Late in that summer we made contact with James and Helen who had gone through the process three years before. Their background was much the same as ours. When we arrived the first thing they did was to take us round their ‘public space’ as they called it. There were six rooms and they looked good. James and Helen were positive and descriptive about the things they were showing us – effectively giving us a guided tour as the said they did for their visitors.

We felt buoyant as we went into their private part of the house for coffee.
It was there that their ‘professional’ face slipped. A non-stop stream of negatives hit us. They complained about their volunteer helpers – unreliable and unhelpful. They complained about their visitors – noisy and forever complaining about their entrance fee; the quality of the coffee and how little there was to see. This diatribe continued for 10 minutes or more before Sam interrupted.

‘There must be some plusses’ she said.
‘Can’t think of any off-hand’ said James, almost as a question to Helen.
‘We have had some tax benefits’ she said to him.
Not much of that’ James said.

The conversation struggled on for another half an hour or so. That was enough for me. I twitched my eyebrows as I glanced at Sam and she turned her eyes toward the door – our pre-arranged sign. I glanced at my watch in a way James and Helen couldn’t miss; then looked up at them.

‘I’m terribly sorry. I’ve just noticed what the time is. We have another viewing this afternoon and I’m afraid we really must be on our way. Thank you so much for showing us around and sharing your experience with us. It has been a great help.’
We shook hands and left; waving to them as we headed off down their drive.

‘What a miserable pair of …’ I stopped Sam in mid-description.
‘Forget it. Forget them. Let’s get home.’
‘I thought you said we had somewhere else to go.’
‘I did. We have. We call it home.’

For the rest of the journey we were both quiet with our own thoughts.

 oooooOOOooooo

This all took place some five years ago. Now we are ready to open up our house, Thornhill Hall, to the public. The first time such a thing has happened. We have absolutely no idea what to expect. For this start we have three rooms of our living area open to view and three of the outbuildings. We have decided not to have a set entrance fee – in fact NO FEE.

We have been dropping little posters in the areas around us. It’s been a bit tough at times but the rain hasn’t been too heavy and the general weather quite mild. The posters have said that we open on Saturday 5th March – with a little nudge that Sunday 6th March is Mother’s Day – and Helen and her friend Sue will be having tea, coffee, soft drinks and homemade biscuits available for children, mothers and grand-mothers. At the other end of this March we have Easter.

We have put together a nice little – free – booklet telling the history of the house and what we have been doing to it over the last 5 years. At the exits of the house and the outbuildings we have put theft-secure opportunities for visitor contributions.

Wish us well. We’ll let you know after April Fool’s Day how we got on!

My friend Jack

When they come for me, tell them that I want to be buried with Jack; right beside him; wrapped around him just as close as I can be. I will need the comfort that only he could give me.

Jack was always around but I never gave him a second glance. I wasn’t in to that sort of thing. Besides, I had my hands full.

Two teenagers, a dog and a busy husband never really left me with much time of my own. Before I knew it the kids were gone and I was looking forward to time for myself. But Life doesn’t always work like that; she had other plans for me.

I was the last to know that Bert, my busy Bert, had been otherwise engaged with Donna, his coach at the tennis club. He had been busy for the last four years but I had been too busy to see it.

It wasn’t messy; it wasn’t noisy; it wasn’t tear-filled – he just didn’t come home one evening.

Now I had time – and space – and a void. That’s when I thought of Jack. The first time I sought refuge in Jack was on a dark but cloudless evening.

The moon was my witness.

The fingers of shadows were starting to lengthen and I reached out to Jack. Isn’t it funny how you always remember your first time – even if you don’t want that recollection?

It wasn’t easy at first, getting to know Jack – but the soothing feeling he gave me felt so familiar, like being wrapped in my mother’s arms and rocked to sleep.

So he did – every evening at sunset – just like clockwork.

An hour, sometimes two, of mellowed quiet, cocooned in amber.

Jack didn’t let me think, he didn’t let me feel. There was no pain; no ecstasy; no anguish – just a peace that overtook me; overwhelmed me, as we melted into one.

And slowly I needed Jack more – to begin my day, to rest at noon, to end my day.

To go down the street, there to eat and drink – and to gaze out of the window.

We went far; we stayed near; he never left my side.

Jack gave me so much and asked nought in return.

Jack Daniels – I love you- xxxxxxx