The Saturday Shed: Amelia Orates

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This is a scheduled post using the word AMELIORATE for inspiration.
For those with the time or inclination: Feel free to join in!
The prompt next week is

Every Sunday in Speakers’ Corner, Amelia orates. She stands on a beer crate, Theakston’s Old Peculiar, with her arms raised and a broad smile on her face. She is one of the many who come to berate, convert, and sometimes confuse. But Amelia’s message is lost because her voice is too quiet and her words too fuzzy. And she is too close to Richard.

He doesn’t need a box; he towers over the other speakers, projecting his deep baritone with a clipped precision that makes one think of the hero in a British war film from the 1950s. Richard begs us to find Jesus. And someone always shouts: ‘Have you reported him to Missing Persons?’ But Richard ignores them and tells all who will listen that Jesus died for their sins. Many shake their heads, but some go home and dig out ancient bibles. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John went to bed with their trousers on.

Red Claire is a firm believer in Marxism and extolls the virtues of socialism. Not forgetting the joy of letting communism into your heart. She wants us to care and share. If she and Richard were to talk, they would find much to agree on. After hearing her rhetoric, people put money in collection tins and utilise the buy-one-get-one-free offers in supermarkets, donating the extras to charity.

Martha wants to save the planet; green is her message, and she deals with her hecklers with facts and figures. She can tell you how many pandas there are in the wild. And the size of the islands of plastic floating through the Pacific Ocean. Her passionate voice bounces along with her bright purple dreadlocks. We are transfixed, promising to recycle more and write stern letters to our politicians.

When Amelia orates, she draws a crowd, but when she finishes, we nod politely and wander off. But we don’t seek to change the world. Instead, we calmly get on with our lives. The lives that don’t seem as desperate as they did before Amelia orated.

The Saturday Shed: Smother Love

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This is a scheduled post using the word FORGIVENESS for inspiration.
For those with the time or inclination: Feel free to join in!
The prompt next week is

“The rhubarb is coming through.” Babs burst into the kitchen and dumped a muddy trug on the table. “I’ll pick some after lunch.” She threw her gloves on the draining board and began scrubbing her hands. “We could make some wine.”

“If you like.” Doris frowned and moved the colander of potatoes draining in the sink.

“Oops!” Babs laughed. “Sorry about that. But a drop of water never hurt anyone.” She reached for the towel. “You’ve done sausages, you star!”

“They’ll be cold by now. But if you could just clean that table, I’ll dish up.”

Babs grabbed the trug and plonked it in the laundry basket. Doris bit back her reprimand as Babs tucked a napkin into her shirt collar.

“You cook marvellous bangers.” She grinned through a mouthful of food. “Can’t think how I didn’t starve before I met you.”

Doris glanced at the photograph on the wall between the dresser and the fridge. A sweet face stared back at her. Babs’ mum. A woman who made it a holy mission to protect her daughter from pain, failure, and discomfort until the day she died.

“I’m sure you managed,” Doris murmured, spooning homemade tomato relish onto her plate.

“Not as well as I do now.” Babs laid down her cutlery. “You know how I was when we first met. But now…” Her voice trailed away.

“The food is still warm; would you credit it?” Doris chewed thoughtfully.

“Sorry,” Babs whispered. “I promise you; I do try.”

“Sometimes, I wonder if it’s another mother you want rather than a lover.”

“No, Dodo.” Babs stretched out a hand. “You are oxygen to me, but sometimes I get lightheaded and act like an idiot.”

Doris wrapped her fingers around Bab’s calloused palm. “If I am the air you breathe, then you are the blood in my veins.”

Babs blushed and attacked her food with gusto. “I’ll do the washing-up after we finish. And this afternoon, I’ll make a start on your herb garden idea.”

“What about the rhubarb?”

“It can wait until later, and I’ll make you a rhubarb crumble for tea.” Babs grinned at the thought.

“I’d like that,” Doris smiled.

The Saturday Shed: Keeping it up Your Sleeve

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This is a scheduled post using the prompt SLEEVE for inspiration.
For those with the time or inclination, next week’s word is STUBBORN

“Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?” A female voice murmured. “She always wears long sleeves.”

“And you never see her in shorts, even on the hottest of days.” Another voice piped up.

Evelyn ignored the whispered comments as she passed the women sitting by the pool. If only they knew, she thought. But summer was the worst season: How she longed to shed the kaftans and expose her limbs to gentle sunshine. But the ugly lumps and bumps were only just fading, and there were plenty more where they came from. With a sigh, Evelyn pulled out her keys and climbed the steps to her holiday apartment.

“Where have you been?” said Owen, as she opened the front door.

He reached for her and dragged her inside. Evelyn stifled a scream as she tripped over the mat.

“Oops-a-daisy!” Owen hoisted her up and kissed her on the nose. “Didn’t mean to startle you, but the lady at the chemist suggested you try this.” He pulled a small tub from his pocket. “Guaranteed to reduce the swelling.”

“And the itching?” she said with a hopeful smile.

“Allegedly. Now, where shall I start?”

“You do the insect bites on my legs, and I’ll do the ones on my arms.”


Later that evening, wearing her customary coverups, Evelyn sat by the pool, watching Owen playing in the water with their son. A heavy smell of DEET and citronella clung to her. She tried not to hear the gossiping women she’d ignored earlier.

“There goes Dana, smothered in fake tan, as usual.”

“Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?”

The Saturday Shed: Thick Skinned

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This is a scheduled post using the prompt HIDE for inspiration.
For those with the time or inclination, next week’s word is SLEEVE

“Del, I need a cleanskin.” Amy burst through the double doors. “Olive toned with a hint of gold.”

“You don’t ask for much. Let me check.” Del put down his sandwich and brought up the latest intake on the screen. “Hmm, just the one I’m afraid, and Starkey’s bagged it.”

“Bastard!” muttered Amy.

“Cut the curse words, and I’ll see what I can do.”

“Sorry, but I’m desperate. They want the back of the sofa done now.”

“The whole thing in leather? There’s someone with more money than sense.” Del whistled.

“And they insist on all-natural ingredients.”

“How about this big, fat med? Came in last night and still up for grabs.”

“What a porker! But more than enough material to finish the job. Now, all I need is something for the cushion covers.”

“Fob them off with a patchwork.” Del picked up his discarded sandwich.

“I’d love to but they want,” Amy put on a silly voice, “a conversation piece!” She snorted. “Lucky for me, they don’t care what it is as long as the designs match.”

“Why didn’t you say so earlier? There’s a little something in the Anglo-Saxon section that will amaze the knickers off you.”

“You never give up, do you?”

“I’d do anything for you, Amy!” Del grinned at her. “But have a butcher’s at this.” He opened a password-protected screen.

“God, that’s a thing of beauty. I’ve never seen tats so intricate. They’re bloody masterpieces. Shame there’s only one unit.”

“Au contraire.” Del clicked the mouse, and another image joined the first.

Amy stared in wonder. “How I love identical twins!”

The Saturday Shed: The Mystery Shopper

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This is a scheduled post using the prompt GORILLA for inspiration.
(I’m just trying to stay ahead of the game and have a Saturday lie-in).
For those with the time or inclination, feel free to join in the fun!

Next week’s word is HASTY.

“Are you seeking egress?”

The polished words emerging from the gloom of the shop made Malcolm leap like a startled deer.

“Sorry, we did not mean to startle you, but you looked a little lost and confused.”

“Just browsing.” Malcolm’s pulse jumped again as he focused on the speaker. A gorilla in a dinner jacket stared back at him. A Neanderthal with the voice of a butler stood in the aisle, with his hands clasped across his belly, waiting for an order. Or maybe a banana.

“Is there anything else with which we can help you?” The formal tones were at odds with the steely glitter of the tiny eyes.

“You wouldn’t know how much this costs?” Malcolm grabbed the nearest item and held it up.

“We regret, sir, that we are only security and not au fait with current prices. But if we may hazard a guess, as you are standing by the pound table, we would say: one pound sterling.”

“Thank you.” Malcolm gave him a weak smile. “I’ll take it to the till then.”

“Allow us to escort you.”

“No, I’ll be fine! I can see the sign for the checkouts from here.”

“Very well.” The gorilla melted back into the shadows. “There we trust you will mention the drill down your trousers and the screwdrivers stuffed up your sleeves.”