Gordon’s lawnmower

Another reblog of a short story from 2016.

beetleypete

This is a work of fiction. A short story of 1900 words.

Sonia watched as Gordon struggled to start the thing. His face was red, and he took off his stupid hat, to wipe his brow. He could have got one with an electric start of course, but Alistair at the golf club had recommended this model, so of course he got that one. It wasn’t as if he even needed a ride-on mower. Although the garden was large, the lawn only took up a small part, and it meant that he drove the noisy thing back and forth, adjusting the cut each time. Anything to justify the cost.

She walked around the spacious conservatory, looking out at the man who she was married to. Can it really have been almost forty years? The bloated individual at the end of her gaze couldn’t be more different to the confident young…

View original post 1,756 more words

Ray Liotta Dies Aged 67

Sad news today. One of my favourite modern American actors had died suddenly, at a relatively young age.

He was the star of ‘Goodfellas’, one of my favourite films, which featured in my all-time Top Ten.

Many of his other performances were memorable too, including ‘Sin City’, the underrated ‘Narc’, the marvellous ‘Copland’, and ‘Hannibal’. He was in ‘Field of Dreams’, ‘Unlawful Entry’, ‘Phoenix’, ‘Revolver’, and many more.

He was not a ‘thespian’, far from it. But his engaging smile, good looks in his youth, and tough-guy persona often lifted a film that he was in.

I will miss him. But we will always have ‘Goodfellas’.

RIP, Ray Liotta.

Barry’s Big Win

This was originally published as a two-part story in 2016. I have combined both parts into one long story of 4,068 words. This is for those who did not follow me at the time, or anyone who didn’t read it then.

The date on the newspaper was the 22nd of September. Geraldine was sixteen today, and Barry had missed another birthday. She had been thirteen the last time he had seen her, and now he didn’t even know where she lived.

Barry stretched out his legs, and gave Molly a stroke. She wagged her tail and licked his hand, settling back down across his thighs. It wasn’t too cold that night, so he hadn’t used the sleeping bag. Three layers of stout cardboard were comfortable enough for now, and the rolled up bag was nice to prop himself up on, wedged against the corner of the shop doorway. People were coming and going, heading in and out of Mr Nisha’s all-night shop next door. This was one of Barry’s favourite spots, and he always tried to get there early, just after the travel agent closed. Their doorway was just big enough for shelter, but not too deep so that nobody noticed you. He adjusted the small box, making sure that the writing on it could be seen from the street. ‘PLEASE HELP’ were the only words on it. Barry liked to leave it at that. He wasn’t one of those who pestered everyone walking past, constantly repeating “Spare some change”, like a mantra. The residents of London were used to rough sleepers and beggars by now, so Barry tried to be different. He didn’t sit near a cash dispenser, or by the entrance to a station. He would set up with Molly next to Mr Nisha’s shop, out of the way and unnoticed by anyone except the shop’s customers.

A few years earlier, it had all been so different. Barry Matthews had been a man of substance, a trader in The City, known for his skill at buying stocks and shares. He had an attractive wife, Mandy, and his darling daughter, Geri. They lived in a luxurious five-bedroom house in one of the best parts of north Essex. Mandy drove to the gym in a Range Rover, and Geri had her own pony, kept at nearby stables. There was the apartment in the south of France, and a weekend lodge in Scotland. Barry worked hard, commuting into London by train before seven in the morning, and rarely getting home at night until nine. They only had the best, and only ate the best. He didn’t have to deny anything to the two women in his life. Sure, he lived on the edge, but then so did everyone else. Credit cards with huge outstanding balances, loans to cover other loans, and household bills that had to be seen to be believed. Then there was the cleaner, the gardener, the handyman, not to mention running two luxury cars. Still, Barry used to think, I earn it and I spend it. That’s life.

Life caught up with Barry one late summer morning. Arriving at work as usual, he saw Darren Healey standing outside, smoking a cigarette. He looked ill. “What’s up, Dazza?” Barry asked in a chirpy tone.
“You’ll find out mate. It’s all gone tits-up in there.” As he replied, Darren looked as if he was going to cry. Barry walked forward, but the younger man waved him away, turning to face the wall. Taking the lift to the company floor, Barry emerged into something very different from the usual office atmosphere. Some of the women were crying, and groups of men stood in corners, talking quietly. The screens were all blank, no telephones were flashing, and nobody was doing any work. He walked over to the desk of his section boss. “What’s going on, Alan?” He asked the tall man sitting there. “Gone bust, Barry mate. It’s all over. We’ve been closed down by head office, and even New York has gone west.” He pointed at some strangers by the main doors. “They have gone as far as to bring in security, to see us off the premises. Get anything personal you wouldn’t want to leave behind, before they chuck you out.”

On the train home, Barry was in a trance. A black plastic bin-bag rested on his knees, containing the few possessions he kept at work. Gym kit, a spare shirt, some toiletries, and a phone charger. There was a professionally-taken photo of Mandy in a silver frame, and another of Geri, sitting proudly on her pony. The few minutes after his short chat with Alan kept replaying in his mind. He had to hand in his key-card, lift pass, and I.D. badge. They took his work phone, his tablet computer, and his contact book. He was handed the rubbish sack to carry out his belongings, and escorted from the building like some sort of criminal. Darren Healey was no longer to be seen. He had gone.

Mandy took the news badly, as he expected she would. She was sure that he would get another job soon, but he reminded her that hundreds of people had lost their jobs in the markets, and Essex wide-boys like him were no longer flavour of the month. They were taking on all the Tristrams and Julians from the posh schools these days. Things couldn’t have been much worse. With no salary or commissions that month, he would be unable to meet any payments. He had to have four grand, before they even bought a pint of milk. His current account was almost three hundred overdrawn, and all four cards were at their limit. All they had was the fifteen quid in his wallet, and a couple of hundred that Mandy kept as folding money. His world had ended in a single morning, and he couldn’t see any way forward.

Very soon, everything got a lot worse. They managed to borrow enough for the month from Mandy’s dad, but everything had to go. When he told Geri that he would have to sell her pony, she told him she hated him, and stayed in her room for three days. Mandy wasn’t a fighter. She had stopped work as soon as they married, and had no intention of looking for a job now. With both cars returned to the leasing company, they had to run around in a ten year old Corsa, borrowed from a cousin. Barry looked for work for a while, but his connection to the failed firm was poison. No point trying to get money from the unemployment office either, that wouldn’t cover the dry cleaning bill, and he couldn’t stand the indignity. It was obvious the house would have to go. They had bought it at the peak time for prices, and it was worth less than what they owed on it. Barry seriously thought about topping himself, but didn’t want to leave Mandy and Geri in the lurch.

Mandy was less concerned about leaving him to deal with it all though. She packed her stuff, and her and Geri went off to stay with her parents in Suffolk. They couldn’t even afford a solicitor, so had no option but to let the mortgage lender take over the property, signing away everything. Barry found himself sleeping on an old friend’s couch, feeling like he was in the way. He couldn’t even offer to pay him anything, so knew it wouldn’t last too long. Mandy stopped taking his calls. Her dad said that her and Geri were too upset to talk to him, and that he should call back when he had sorted out his life. Nobody seemed to understand that none of it was down to him. Three months later, Barry found himself on the street, his worldly goods contained in four plastic carrier bags. He sold his swish mobile phone to a black guy outside a tube station. He asked for a hundred and twenty quid, but settled on eighty. With that money, he bought a cheap sleeping bag and rucksack, a large parka coat, and some boots. That night, he watched the others as they found places to sleep, got free soup from charity vans, and unwanted food thrown away by shops. He began to learn by observation, keeping himself to himself in this dangerous new world.

Three years later, and he was a veteran of the streets. He had avoided alcohol, which caused most of the others so many problems. He had adopted Molly the Staffy after her owner, Mike the Sailor, had been taken away by ambulance one night, suffering from fits. Mike never came back, so Barry hung on to the old girl. Having a nice dog was good. Not just the company, it brought in more money. People gave you something, and would say, “Get the dog some food, don’t spend it on drink.” Later that night, a young couple approached him on their way into the shop. The girl bent down and stroked Molly, who licked her hand. When they came out of the shop minutes later, the man leaned down to Barry, offering him a slip of paper. “Take this mate, you never know, it might bring you luck.” He said it with a smile, seemed like a nice bloke. It was a Lucky Dip Lottery ticket for that evening’s draw, which had cost two pounds. Barry would sooner have had the cash, but he thanked the man anyway, and put the paper into the zipped front pocket of his coat.

The next morning he counted his change, and went into the shop to buy some water, and a pouch of food for Molly. Mr Nisha was there, smiling as always. “Good morning Sir Barry” he said in his loud voice. As he was leaving with his purchases, Barry suddenly remembered. He took the ticket from his pocket, and asked Mr Nisha to check it. He checked it once, then again, and a third time to be sure. “Sir Barry, it is a winner, I’m sure. It says here that you have to telephone immediately.” Mr Nisha let Barry stand at the side of the counter, to use the shop’s phone. After pressing some buttons, a young lady came on the line. She asked for the numbers again, and for the code number on the back. She asked where he had bought the ticket, then asked him to hold the line. After a short delay, she came back. “I am pleased to tell you that you have a winning ticket sir.” Her voice was cheery. “If you will give me your address, we will send one of our representatives down to see you, before lunchtime.” Barry couldn’t think what to say, so he gave the address of the shop, and said that he would wait there. “How much have I won?” He finally thought to ask. The girl was obviously reading from a script. “That will be discussed later sir, but I am happy to advise you that it is a substantial amount.”

Four hours later, a large black people carrier turned up. Barry’s life was about to change once again.

The people from the Lottery company checked that Barry had the ticket, which they inspected carefully. They went inside, and Mr Nisha confirmed that he had sold it. They seemed happy enough. One of them was on the ‘phone to the company, but Barry couldn’t hear what was being said. A chunky woman introduced herself as Valerie. “Call me Val.” She insisted. She told him that she was a volunteer, a previous winner who helped to guide the lucky ones through the process. “You don’t mind helping out with some publicity, do you Mr Matthews?” He shrugged in reply. “Call me Barry if you like.” After a short debate about Molly the dog being allowed in the car, Barry climbed in the back next to Val, with Molly sitting on the floor. He had told them, “Either the dog comes, or I don’t go. You can just send the money instead.”

As they drove off, the youngest one stayed behind. He said he had to get to the office, but as the car turned into the main street, he was on his mobile. “Hi, it’s Alex.” He was excited, and could hardly control the volume of his voice. “This one’s a peach. A homeless man in a shop doorway with his dog, and he wins the jackpot. It’s a genuine rags to riches story, you couldn’t make it up.”

Barry stared out of the tinted window as the car headed south over Waterloo Bridge. Val was going through what was to happen next. “You will be taken to a hotel, and meet the representatives from the organisers. They will put you up there, make sure that you get something to eat, and run through what you should be thinking about. Tomorrow, there will be a short press conference, and no doubt the TV cameras will want to be there too. You will be famous, Barry. Is that OK?” At the Elephant and Castle roundabout, the car headed south, in the direction of Kent. He suddenly realised he had to reply. “Fine by me.” About an hour later, they arrived at a smart country house hotel in the Kent countryside. Val hadn’t stopped talking, but in all honesty, Barry had to admit that he hadn’t really paid much attention to her prattling. She had spoken mostly about her own experience, and although it was too harsh to say out loud, he couldn’t really care less about her.

Val escorted him to a lovely room. “Perhaps you would like to change before the meeting.” She suggested. “Into what?” Barry replied. “This is it.” Val looked uneasy. “Well, maybe a bath, and a rest before the meeting then. Is there anything you need at the moment?” “A bowl please, so I can give Molly some water.” He pointed at the panting dog, before dropping onto the huge soft bed. He had forgotten just how soft a bed was. It was as if he had never slept in one before. Val went off to consult with the officials. “Don’t let him change, whatever you do.” She was told. “Let him freshen up, get that smell off him. He can have dinner in the room, and breakfast too for that matter. But we want him looking just like that, when the press guys come tomorrow.” Once they had brought the water bowl, Barry stripped off and ran a hot bath, using the foam and oils supplied by the hotel. He sat in that bath for a long time, using the fluffy dressing gown provided when he was out and dry. A knock on his door was followed by a waiter, with menus for food and wine. Barry could choose what to have for lunch, and it would be served in his room. He chose a steak, and ordered some chicken for Molly, who was curled up on an expensive-looking rug near the windows.

After lunch, the telephone rang. It was Val, asking him to be kind enough to meet them in the Hambledon Suite, on the ground floor. Barry rummaged through his rucksack, and found some reasonably clean socks and underwear, as well as a creased but washed shirt. Entering the conference suite, he felt decidedly under-dressed, but not too bothered about it. Val was there, with three serious-looking men. They stood up as he came in, and shook his hand in turn. They explained their roles. One was a legal adviser, another dealt with financial matters, and the third was a regional manager. “You are going to be a very wealthy man, Mr Matthews, and we regard it as our responsibility to give you the best advice on how to manage your winnings.” That was said by the manager, as the others nodded. Barry felt bold enough to ask the burning question. “Exactly how much are we talking about?” The manager smiled. “You had the only ticket to match all the winning numbers. This is the amount, I am sure you will be pleased.” As he spoke, he slid a piece of paper across the desk. It contained just one line of type, a long row of numbers. £16,683,488.42p. Barry read it twice. Over sixteen and a half million pounds. He had hoped that it might have been a couple of hundred grand, but he hadn’t expected this.

“I am sure that you will agree, Mr Matthews, a life-changing sum of money.” This from the financial expert, an older man with something of the Victorian about him.

Much of what went on after that seemed to Barry to be happening at fast-forward. He signed some papers, and agreed once again to tomorrow’s press conference. They asked for bank details, and he could only give them details of an old savings account. All the others had been closed, when he had gone bust. He was told that his bill would be covered until the following afternoon, and after that, he would be responsible. They asked him to tell Val what he wanted to say to the press, and they would check it before he spoke. He shook their hands once more, and went back to his room. Someone from the company would be back the next morning, and Val would stick around, if he wanted to talk. But he didn’t want to talk, he wanted to sleep. To sleep in that soft bed. Molly was pleased to see him when he got back, then scooted back to her comfy rug. He undressed, and slipped into the clean bedding.

The photo shoot next morning was a real set-up. Barry was dressed in his old coat and battered boots, with Molly on her washing-line lead next to him. He held up a huge fake cheque bearing the amount he had won, and shook a champagne bottle until it fizzed over everyone. He decided not to say much, just confirmed that he had been living on the streets, and agreed that the lottery would change his life. Val handed out a press release with his real name and age, as well as a romanticised version of how this street tramp had found his way back into society courtesy of a lottery ticket. By 11 am, it was all over. They left him with contact numbers for the advisers, telling him to be in touch when he had an address, or if he needed help. Barry was approached by the hotel manager, who offered to let him keep the room for now, at a preferred rate.

One lesson soon learned was that if you have enough money, people who want it will come to you. Within two days, a young man arrived from the bank where he held the savings account. He wanted to discuss investments of course, but he also arranged for Barry’s account to be reinstated, as well as the issue of bank cards and credit cards, which arrived by courier the following day. He was contacted by local tailors offering bespoke clothing services, and estate agents left messages all day, suggesting that they pick him up and show him around some very desirable properties in the area. The hotel began to receive so many calls asking for Mr Matthews, that he told them to say he had checked out, and they didn’t know where he had gone. Sacks of mail arrived too. Thousands of letters sent by people pleading for investment in wonderful inventions, asking for money to pay for expensive life-saving operations, and a hundred and one other sob stories. Many claimed to know him, and some even threatened exposure of made-up crimes, or to reveal secrets from his past if he refused to send money. Barry read a few, but soon got bored with them. He asked the hotel to get rid of them, and ordered a taxi to take him to Maidstone, the nearest large town. He asked the taxi-driver to wait for him, and told him to expect a big tip. The driver knew his story. He waited.

He left Molly in a dog-grooming parlour as he went around the busy centre. After a good haircut and shave in a trendy barber’s, he stopped off in some smart shops, buying new clothes and shoes, as well as a sharp suit. When the staff asked what they should do with the clothes he had been wearing, he told them to throw them away. He also bought a leather holdall to put everything in, and a very expensive watch. In a mobile phone shop, he paid cash for a sim-only phone, and topped it up with five hundred pounds. That should last a while, he thought. His last stop was at the office of one of the estate agents who had contacted him. With minimal fuss, he was able to rent an isolated house about ten miles away. He was assured that it was furnished tastefully, completely equipped for all his needs, and he need do nothing more than move in. He paid the six months in advance, and was handed the keys. The agent gave him the contact numbers necessary for the utility companies, and advised that he contact them that day. Barry collected Molly, who had clipped nails, a very clean coat, and looked years younger. He walked back to the spot where the taxi had dropped him off, and the smiling driver was there waiting.

After three weeks in the house, Barry had set it up well. Everything could be done on the telephone or online. You didn’t need to go out, unless you wanted to. He had soon arranged the best available Internet service, and purchased a state of the art laptop. He bought a huge TV for the bedroom, and subscribed to all the latest satellite services. Food was ordered in, as well as casual clothes, some nice bedding, and pretty much anything else he needed. Molly could wander around in the large garden. She didn’t need long walks at her age. He checked the post every day. So far, nobody had found out where he was. The letters had stopped, and he was very much yesterday’s news. Someone else would soon win another jackpot, and he could slip away into obscurity.

After six weeks had passed, he telephoned Mandy’s parents. The lady who answered told him that she had lived there for almost two years. The man who lived there before had died, and his wife had gone to live with her daughter in South Africa. She had an address somewhere, if he wanted it. Barry declined the address, and thanked her for her time. He sat and thought about the news. South Africa? What the hell were Mandy and Geri doing there? He considered the possibility of hiring a detective agency to track them down, but wondered what he would say if he found them. Perhaps his new-found wealth would lure them back to him, but he was no longer sure that was really what he wanted. He called the agent who managed the house. He wanted to rent it long-term, he told the man. A payment arrangement would be put in place, to include someone to check on the house from time to time, keep it maintained, and sort out the garden. “I am going away for a while, and I will not be able to be contacted.” Barry informed him.

The next afternoon, Barry dressed in a thick hooded sweatshirt and jogging trousers. He put on some black trainers, and unwrapped the new heavy coat from the box it had arrived in. Taking off the designer watch, he placed it in a bedside drawer, next to the switched-off mobile phone. He took some cash from the table, and put the notes into a pocket of the coat. The taxi arrived at four as arranged, and he and Molly were on the train to London within the hour.

He knew where to get the best dry cardboard, and it was still there. Three large sheets would be enough, and all he could carry anyway. Settling down in the doorway next to Mr Nisha’s shop, Molly jumped into his lap, and he stroked her head.

Barry smiled at his faithful dog as he said, “Home at last, Moll.”

The End.

Mr Gold

I am reblogging another short story from 2016 for those who did not follow me then, or read it at the time.

beetleypete

This is a work of fiction, a short story of 1900 words.

When Nigel was quite young, his mum had received a letter by air mail. That was something of an event, but she didn’t tell him who it was from. She would only say it was from a friend. He retrieved the envelope from the waste bin though, and noticed that it had an American stamp on it. It was postmarked from a place he didn’t know, but he liked the sound of the name. Chattanooga, Tennessee. He repeated that name over and over in his head.

Nigel had never met his dad. Mum said he had been killed early on in the war, before Nigel was born. Now that mum had got that letter, the boy secretly hoped that he was really alive, and perhaps living in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Nigel asked mum if he could have the stamp…

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Below zero

Reblogging this short story from 2016 for any new followers since then who may not have seen it.

beetleypete

This is a work of fiction, a short story of 1200 words.

Astrid didn’t want to die. She was only fourteen, after all. Surely too young to face this?
After the headaches had come the double vision, then the vomiting. She could no longer cope with school, and not long after that, her mum gave up work to look after her. Sometimes, Astrid screamed for hours. Those times when nothing would take away the pain in her head. She would tremble in her mother’s arms, pleading for relief.

Her mum Barbara was at the end of her tether. Astrid was her only child, and she had never expected this. Only three months before, they had argued, like any mum and teenage daughter. Astrid was doing well at school, and was the leading light of the soccer team. She had the occasional fit of hysteria, mostly when she was refused permission…

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Angry

I have to -sort of, but not really- apologise in advance for what follows, because I am angry. Very angry.

And if you have ever voted Conservative in the UK, best look away now.

I worked hard for all of my life, most of that in public service in stressful and sometimes dangerous jobs. I was trying to do some good for society, and certainly didn’t do those jobs for the money, which was below average for London. But I didn’t mind, because I wanted to do something good, not make profits for huge corporations.

I paid into two workplace pensions, and paid my National Insurance to receive my State Pension at the age of 65. When I retired at 60 and moved to Norfolk, I expected to live a reasonable life. Not affluent, far from that, but hopefully free from worry. I certainly never expected to end up in 2022 to find this country run by a gang of ‘Entitled’ pigs who cared nothing whatsoever for the people of Britain.

I really didn’t.

But that’s where we are. A gang of rich buffoons who have mega-rich friends, and a huge parliamentary majority. A Prime Minister who is an embarrassment to this country, surrounded by politicians and old friends who have got rich, and then richer, on the hard work of ordinary people. Members of Parliament on salaries of £84,000 a year, plus expenses of up to £200,000, telling ordinary people to ‘work harder’, or ‘do two jobs’ as they laugh at us in the subsidised bar of the House of Commons. A country saturated with ridiculous echoes of a long-gone empire, and fawning over a Royal Family that includes some of the richest people in the world, as well as hangers-on and paedophiles.

Fuel increases have been blamed on the war in Ukraine. That is a lie. The UK imports very little oil from Ukraine or Russia, and Shell and BP have made never before seen profits since the Russian invasion. WHY? Because they can, because the government lets them. Because they have friends who are shareholders in those companies.

Now the price cap on electricity and gas is set to rise to record levels. The members of parliament don’t care, because their energy bills are claimed on those ‘expenses’. But most people are set to see a 120% increase in their fuel bills in one year. More profits for the utility companies, engineered by their friends in government. They seek to distract us with ‘Platinum Jubilee’ celebrations, and an extra bank holiday. Yes, let’s all celebrate the Queen, who is one of the richest women on Earth, and doesn’t even need the taxpayer’s money that is pumped into her and her family so she can pay a woman £12,000,000 to drop a case against her sexual abuser son.

Meanwhile, hard-working people are becoming overwhelmed by utilty increases that may put their everyday lives in complete jeopardy. Someone as well-prepared for retirement as me (at least I thought so) has to think twice about using a car, as it costs me £105 to fill it up with diesel. And I have to shop ‘carefully’, for the first time in my life, because food price increases are blamed on higher transport costs, and that war in Ukraine.

If there had been no war in Ukraine, I wonder what they would have blamed it on? They would have found something, I’m sure.

So here I am at 70, after a relatively hard life. Suddenly worrying about everything, for the first time ever. Thanks to the Tory scum that run this country, and laugh about those foolish enough to vote for them. Like sheep volunteering to be the first one in the slaughterhouse.

Why did you vote for them? I would love to know. Working class people all across Britain, especially in the North, and the Home Counties, voted for them. Middle-class people voted for them, perhaps out of habit. Upper class people voted for them for obvious reasons, and so they could become multi-millionaires.

Did you really think they cared about you? Did you really think they believe you are the same as them? If so, you are not only ignorant, not only politically ignorant, but deluded and cretinous in every way imaginable.

You betrayed me, and every person who genuinely worked hard for this country.

This is no longer my country, it is a disgusting sham. Because of you.

I am not just angry, I hate you all. I will hate you with a spiteful vengeance until my dying day. Which should not be too far in the future.

If anyone doesn’t like this post, please feel free to unfollow me. I am probably better off without you.

Bicycles 🚲

A tribute to cycling, from Fraggle. Great quotes and photos!

fraggle

“It would not be at all strange if history came to the conclusion that the perfection of the bicycle was the greatest incident of the nineteenth century.” ~ anonymous

Beamish Museum, England, 2011

“Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. Teach a man to cycle and he will realise fishing is stupid and boring.” ~ Desmond Tutu

Hexam, Northumberland, England 2012

“The bicycle is the most civilised conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remain pure in heart.” ~ Iris Murdoch

Sint Niklaas, Belgium, 2012

“Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world.” ~ Grant Petersen, American bicycle designer

York, England, 2015

“The bicycle is a just as good company as most husbands and, when it gets old and shabby, a woman can…

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Meeting a Blogger: The Letter, The Book, and the Otter

Two marvellous teachers meet online through blogging, and then they actually meet in person! A heartwarming true-life story for all the family.

A Teacher's Reflections

Do you often think how wonderful it would be to meet a favorite blogger – in person – and spend the day with them?  I certainly do.  And it happened!  Well, in order to tell the wonderful story, I must start at the beginning:

It Happened Like This…

Pete Springer is one of my favorite bloggers.  Our mutual interest in children and teaching was the start of our connection.  It has grown to include the love of children’s books, the great outdoors, how the little things are the big things, and more.  It’s a long list, and a good one.  When he planned a visit to see his three brothers, he wanted to connect with two bloggers.  Yes, he wanted to meet me!  Was I excited?  You bet!

It was as if we had known each other for years.  Well we had, of course, through blogging.  ‘In Person’ was the…

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Sunday Musings On A Sunny Morning

Greeted by sunshine and 20 degrees this morning. (68F) That’s cheerful, and (almost) compensated for the crows waking me up at 4:30am and it taking me ages to get back to sleep again.

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Still no news about whether or not my driving licence will be renewed. Approaching four months since my application, and no reply to the medical forms I sent off recently. So I am driving around as much as I can, while I still can.

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On Monday and Tuesday this week, we had the gardening company in to smarten up the back patio. The old wooden dining table had to go, as some of the wood had rotted. I broke it up to use on the log-burner next winter. We will evetually get a smaller table. The 8-seater table bought in 2011 has only been used to full effect on two occasions since, and spent most of it’s time under a cover, or being soaked by unexpected rain. One of those ‘seemed like a good idea at the time’ purchases.

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I’m giving UK politics and the war in Ukraine a miss this week. I expect, like me, most of you are worn out with all that this year.

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Lots of news about the Queen’s 70th Jubilee celebrations. Patriotic bunting in supermarkets, ‘Platinum Jubilee’ special offers, and various sycophantic reports and celebratory concerts and events. Regular readers will know I am not in favour of a monarchy, so you can guarantee I will be showing no interest in the Jubilee whatsoever.

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Ollie has been back cooling off in the river, and started to eat his dinners properly again after a few days where he seemed to be starving himself deliberately. It was a relief when he began to eat everything again.

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I wish you all a happy and peaceful Sunday, wherever you happen to be.

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