Bits and pieces

28. Sep, 2020

     The next time I sighted Arthur he’d found a little place next to the microwave. I didn’t notice him for hours, even when I was spending time at the bench making coffee and cups of tea, and my salad sandwich for my lunch. I was completely oblivious to his hairy existence as it sat in the darkened wooden alcove. He must have chuckled his way through the morning thoroughly enjoying my ignorant bliss.

     It was as the light and shadows shifted throughout the day that the unusual shiny duo of his two front eyes could be seen high up on the left-hand side.

     At first, I wondered what on earth it was it that sat there unblinkingly quiet, staring back at me as I peered with a frowning face into the enclosure. It was when I finally identified my arachnid friend that I’m sure he winked at me. I had to give him 9 out of 10 for this hide-out as he’d been sitting there for most of the day and I hadn’t spied him. But the game was now up, and I guess he no longer felt a thrill in seeing me come and go throughout the day without knowing of his presence. Within minutes – when I wasn’t looking - he’d moved to another location with all the stealth of the Scarlet Pimpernel. I wasn’t to see him again for three whole days. 

25. Sep, 2020

If you're not a writer  it's hard to appreciate the time and effort that goes into the process. I know people complain about the price of books - especially paperbacks and hardbacks - but considering that some writers/authors can take up to 10 years to complete a book for publishing, they don't ask for much. And that time is a long haul; one that doesn't pay well unless thousands of copies are sold.

Most writers will be lucky to come out even with costs for editing, cover design and formatting, sometimes adding up to between $3,000 and $5,000 thousand dollars. When it is finally printed up - and sold - most get only two to four dollars per copy for their efforts. That's not a lot. So, as you can now understand, writing is more often than not done out of love ... as are most crafts.

Consider that latte or sushi you bought without hesitation for lunch the other day, then please consider doing the same when purchasing a book. You will make a writer very happy, moreso if you leave a review.

Enjoy your day, folks. 

16. Sep, 2020

It's been some time since I posted here. I would rather write rarely about something than waffle on about nothing. So here goes.

I don't get near enough time to read as I would like but last week - while killing time between appointments - I picked up a copy of Good Omens written by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. It's a story about two angels - one's a bit tarnished and tends to hang out with the wrong sort. They are organizing an Armageddon. But as with anything that is penned by Sir Terry the book is on the zany side with a premise for things to go wrong. And Mr Gaiman ... he can be a little macabre/oddball in his works too ... yet I love them all the same.

Anyway, so far so good ... I'm only about 1/8 of the way through, and it has appealled greatly to my British sense of humour and the wonderfully weird writings of Sir Terry. I recommend it even now, so if you think you need a laugh give this book a go.

Cheers, everyone, and have a great day.

5. Sep, 2020

    Another morning, some time on, I found Arthur on one of the lampshades. While normally it would be no big deal … this lampshade happens to be the one suspended over the middle of my rather small kitchen – a very intimidating position indeed. He was relaxed in the squidgy pose of crooked legs … the one these spiders use after you’ve belted them with a magazine and they’re trying to make you feel sorry for them. (This pose is second to the one that has these spiders curled up in a ball smaller than a Malteaser after you have managed to dispatch them. It’s designed purely to make you look like a right bully and will also have you considering repentance for what you’ve just done – you murderer, you).

     So … with Arthur draped casually around the lip of the shade I was a little bit wary of how secure he was. I even wondered for an instant if it was payback for my clumsy morning sojourn a few days previous, that had him scarpering up the wall from behind the curtain like his hairy little arse was on fire.

     Regardless, I made my morning coffee keeping a very cautious eye on him as I manoeuvred around the kitchen from fridge to bench to electric kettle and drawers. I then left him to it, hoping that while I drank my brew he would decide to trundle off and settle into his favourite possie beside the pantry.

     But no such luck. After several subsequent trips into the kitchen for breakfast and then another cuppa he seemed determined that he would spend his day exactly where he was. I had no choice then, but to tackle my important forays after that, with a number of neck-stretching machinations than were designed to give one either a headache or a twisted spine. This proved to be uncomfortable let alone downright painful on occasions. Consequently, I retreated into the lounge-room to replan my day. 

      This is how it went.

     Firstly, I asked him kindly if he would move, scat, relocate … aww, come on, Arthur … this is not fair. But he was stuck in his decision (though there was a moment where I thought he might be stuck in the cobweb that was draped thickly across the same lampshade). Plan B was where I wondered if I could do the relocation myself. But I did a rethink on this notion as it’s rumoured that these spiders will jump at one’s personage if they are startled. And … we’d only been friends for a few weeks so there was no telling which way this one might go!

     So … it was back to the drawing board.

     After several half-hearted ideas had flitted through my head, I finally decided that it was not a day for the kitchen. Arthur had persisted and won. He could peacefully spend his day on the lampshade without me hassling him. This meant that the dishes would be left on the sink until the following day (that was if he did not decide to spite me by taking up residence there for a second sit-in). Lunch was a quick get together of bread and cold meat and the last meal of the day was not what one would call a culinary delight.

     To end the day, with the turning out of the light for the evening I wished him a good one and hoped he hadn’t got burnt while he was up there keeping company with the light bulb all those hours. *

18. Aug, 2020

I have posted this snippet as these devil dogs, as some people called them, feature in my Merlin's School series.

“So you will do well to shut your eyes if you hear him howling.  Shut them even if you are uncertain if it is the dog fiend or the wind that you hear.”

--from Highways and Byways of East Anglia by, W.A. Dutch (1901)

"The congregants inside Holy Trinity Church  of Blythburgh England are kneeling together in prayer.  It is the middle of the night, August 4, 1577, and outside the church a fierce storm has been raging all day and night.

Winds howl and shake the church.  Lightning crashes, thunder booms and the rain falls in torrential sheets.  The townspeople are gathered together in fervent supplication--praying and hoping against hope that soon the storm will let up.

Blythburgh is located among the marshy fens of East Anglia along the coast of England, and each one of the residents are keeping a watchful and apprehensive eye on the rising tide levels because their livelihoods depend on it.  The prospect of calamitous flooding is a constant and fearful reality.

On this stormy night all the townspeople are on their knees fervently praying for the rain to stop, but little do they know that in just a few moments each one of them is about to experience a supernatural terror far worse than anything ever described in even the most fiery of sermons.

There is a crack of thunder that shakes Holy Trinity Church to its foundation.  In an instant, an enormous black shaggy hound, foaming at the mouth and with fiery blazing red eyes, bursts through the large wooden double doors of the church and comes howling and sprinting up the aisle towards the nave.

The worshippers scream in terror as the hellish dog runs amok inside.  The hound clamps its jaws around a young boy’s throat and yanks out his jugular before mauling the boy’s father and leaving him in a bloody heap next to his son.

The beast lets out a blood-curdling howl and then sprints out the door in a flash.  Once the demonic hound has left, the steeple of Holy Trinity Church in the town of Blythburgh, England, comes crashing through the ceiling.  To this very day, claw marks are said to be visible, literally burnt into the door of the church, from that fateful night so long ago.

On that very same night, August 4, 1577, it is said that the same hellish beast appeared yet again not very far away, this time in St. Mary’s Church in the English town of Bungay.  In St. Mary’s Church the hellhound followed much the same script as in Blythburgh as reported by a contemporary witness:

“The black dog running all along down the body of the church, with great swiftness passed between two persons kneeling and occupied in prayer, as it seemed, wrung the necks of them both, in an instant, clean back.”

-from A Strange and Terrible Wonder by, Arthur Flemming (1577)

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