The Saturday Shed – Rule Britannia

This is a scheduled post using the phrase TONE-DEAF for inspiration.
I will be back online after August 7th: I’m on a blogging break!

Dave sashayed into the living room. “What do you think?”

“A white linen suit?” Lola dropped her handbag in horror. “Are you insane?”

“It’s stylish and cool, and I can wear it with my Panama hat.”

“You can be such an insensitive idiot,” Lola tutted. “Here’s a brief hint, we no longer have an empire.”

“What’s that got to do with it?” Dave picked up Lola’s bag and handed it to her.

She snatched it from him and pulled two gilt-edge cards from the front pocket. “We have invitations to a retrospective of Britain’s rather murky colonial past and you want to dress up as the last Viceroy of India.”

“It’s a classic look!”

“So are Brown Shirts and funny salutes.”

“You take this woke crap too far sometimes: I’m not a Nazi or some kind of screaming racist.”

“No, but you are tone-deaf.” Lola pushed him from the room.” Go upstairs and change into your jeans and that tee-shirt I bought for your birthday.”

“You mean the one made in a Bangladeshi sweatshop?”

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Speed Limits

LindaGHill hosts SOCS, today’s prompt is a picture from wherever. Find an image, whether in a magazine, newspaper, or product packaging and write whatever thought or emotion it provokes.

“What an idiot! Just take a look at this,” Dr Croston pointed at the x-ray. “One hip and both legs broken. The silly sod will be in plaster for weeks and physio for months.”

“Could have been worse,” said Nurse Langley. “At least this one will walk again.”

“And breathe,” added Bob, the anaesthetist. “The last one broke his back, crushed his ribs, fractured his skull and was on the ventilator for weeks until we convinced his idiot parents there was no hope.”

“Guess you can’t blame them for that,” said Langley. “But you can blame them for raising thrill-seeking morons instead of normal children.”

“Sad, but true.” Croston adjusted her surgical hat. “No sense of self-preservation in kids today. And no idea how much work and trouble they create when it all goes tits up.”

“Well, at least this one will be a simple in and out job,” Bob said. “We should be done by lunchtime. Then are we all still on for our coasteering session this afternoon?”

“Hell, yeah,” said Langley. “But Sue won’t be joining us for obvious reasons.”

“Poor cow,” said Croston. “But at least her last memory will be getting a ride in a search and rescue helicopter.”

Click the links for more info about tombstoning and coasteering.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Keep it Under Your Hat

LindaGHill hosts SOCS, today’s prompt is HAT. Use it literally or metaphorically.
Click HERE for the rest of the rules, and to play along.

Rat-a-tat-tat-tat… tat… tat-tat.

My heart sank. Only one person on this planet knocks like that.

“This had better be good,” I muttered before yanking open the front door to reveal Gus wearing a duffel coat, furry gloves and a bobble hat. I blinked. Only the lightest of breezes kept me this side of sweating, whilst he was dressed up like Nanook of the North.

Still, it was an improvement on his last look: a diamanté studded Stetson and a pair of cerise hot pants. His ability to make it across town in one piece amazes me. But he usually only comes out during school hours or at night. Apart from today, this was an unexpected, but not a pleasant surprise. I beckoned him in and sat at the bottom of the stairs, watching his ritual spin, star-jump, spin routine. I keep the dresser in the hall clear for this reason.

“Why are—”

Gus shook his head, the pompom on his hat bouncing in agitation. He tapped his nose, cupped his hands over his ears and pointed towards the back garden. Right, today we were obviously at home to Mr Paranoid. I nodded, and we set off towards the shed, stopping only to collect the tin helmets from the cupboard under the kitchen sink.

I went in first and set up the shower curtains while Gus performed the five ballet positions. Where he picked up that skill is a mystery, and thank god, I don’t have to join him in these rituals.

“Are you all right, Gus?” I said when we were both settled, then sat back, waiting for him to talk. He’d tell me why he’d come without an appointment in his own sweet time.

“Would you like a coffee?” I asked after twenty minutes of silence.

“You watched the meteor shower, didn’t you?” said Gus, the master of the non sequitur.

“Only for ten minutes,” I assured him, hoping he would change the subject.

“I warned you!” His hands beat a metallic tattoo on his head. “You told me you’d read The Day of the Triffids.”

“That’s a work of fiction.”

“Never heard of life imitating art?” He gave me a reproachful glare. “Now tell me what happened?”

“I ended up with one hell of a migraine and spent the next twenty-four hours lying in a darkened room with a damp flannel over my eyes.”


“And what?” I snapped at him.

“The flowers? What about the flowers?”

I was about to ask how he knew about them but realised I’d be wasting my time, so I told him how I threw out a vase of lilies because the smell made me as sick as a pig.

“Thought as much,” he nodded and then lowered his voice to a whisper. “I had to come and make sure you were okay. They came and told me about it this morning.”

“Did they come in person?” I never humour Gus: his grip on reality may be a little shaky, but he deserves to be treated with dignity.

“Yes, but they were very nice to me, and I did the cognitive training thing like you said, and they promised to give me plenty of warning next time.”

“Good.” My smile was genuine. These techniques were helping him more than the medication he took. I just hoped they wouldn’t put too many barriers up in his mind. When he’s on form, Gus helps me immensely. How else do you think I could afford my new car?

Three Things Challenge #960 – The Staff of Life

Welcome to The Three Things Challenge hosted by Pensitivity101.
Today’s prompt words are DOUGH, KNEAD, YEAST.

My grandmother was way ahead of Forrest Gump and far more grounded. Life was not a box of chocolates for her. Because, as she said, her family couldn’t afford to buy such things. She was born on April the 26th 1926. The same day as the queen. But, there the similarity ends: no palaces, dazzling gowns or a handsome prince for my Gran. However, say nothing disrespectful about Her Majesty in Granny’s hearing unless you want a clip around the ear. Age has not withered her left hook.

A feisty woman who lost a fiancé in World War Two, a son during The Falklands, and her right breast in 2003: Gran does not suffer fools gladly. That includes Mr Gump. She saw the film for the first time last week. She approved of the movie but declared Forrest a simpleton. And here’s what Grandma said about his famous quote. (Sorry about the language, but when you are within spitting distance of a hundred, social niceties apparently go out of the window).

“Life is like a loaf of bread!” she declared. “You live in need, there’s never enough dough, and you have to find the means to rise above the shite we all wade through.”

And I would just like to say a big thank you to WordPress for a right royal screw up.
You didn’t publish this post as scheduled. Well done!

Camera Obscura

Image Source:

Written in response to Fandango’s Story Starter #44 and Flash Fiction Challenge #167.

He wandered aimlessly through the museum, seeking any form of distraction to avoid his mother. She was running loose with her camera, even though taking photos of the exhibits was strictly verboten. And rather than be discreet and use her phone, she was waving around a piece of apparatus that was probably in vogue when the Titanic sank. Bloody hell, thought Clifford, all she needed was the wooden tray of magnesium powder and a black cape over her head.

He caught up with her in the diamond room. And watched a security guard bearing down on her as she snapped off photos, the flashes bouncing off the assembled rows of jewels like a disco ball.

By god, it was working! He stepped back in disbelief as the guard politely but firmly told her off. His mother played a blinder with her confused, deaf, little old lady routine. He edged closer, as with fumbling hands, she tried to take the film out of the camera and spilt the contents of her handbag all over the floor. Quite the crowd was gathering. Even the CCTV monitors had turned their blank eyes to watch the fun. He nodded and positioned himself in front of the display containing the Noor diamonds.

A heartbeat later, the alarms started, and he felt a hand slip into his pocket. People screamed in shock as the gates slammed down. In the chaos, he brushed past his mother and what followed was textbook perfect.

The security guys calmed down when they discovered nothing appeared to be missing, and everyone in the Noor room agreed to be searched. Mother joined the queue, but the guards waved her away.

“Off you go, Granny,” said one of them. “You were with us the whole time.”

They escorted her from the building and even called her a cab.

Clifford grinned at the thought of five million pounds worth of precious gemstones making their way to an abandoned office block in Neasden.