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Issu e 2nd 465 Dec 2016

Deer on Cannock Chase. Image Faith Hickey Blog Opportunity Do you take wildlife pictures?

FLASH FICTION: Random Words: cheese, fantasy, vexed, dainty, shoe-lace, subterfuge, Trans-Atlantic, genuine, mystique, sporadic Assignment: Post truth

A warm welcome awaits. COME to WORKSHOP ... Rising Brook Library Workshops 1.30 start Mondays Positive thinking quotes (PMW) “We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” ― Abraham Lincoln A random act of kindness, no matter how small, can make a tremendous impact on someone else's life.”

Y DATES HOLIDAY: DIAR open to all 12th Dec 2016 — ies) (bring cakes & good Mince Pie Monday ar ye W her RB Celebration of anot of 2016 op sh rk wo l Fina

“We are all different. Don’t judge, understand instead.”

-open in Jan 2016 Workshops will re sent in as usual be Contribut ions can season. during the ho liday

“It’s only after you’ve stepped outside your comfort zone that you begin to change, grow, and transform.” “Success is not how high you have climbed, but how you make a positive difference to the world.” “Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely.” “Listen with curiosity. Speak with honesty. Act with integrity. The greatest problem with communication is we don’t listen to understand. We listen to reply. When we listen with curiosity, we don’t listen with the intent to reply, we listen for what’s behind the words.”

RBW 2017 poetry collection submissions have started

Tea at 2. First T 00 ... hursda y of the m o n th Rising Brook Library chat, g ames, crafts Come and have a good n atter.

Random Words: Kayak, ephemera, microcosm, jinx, leaf, spent, deliver, feather, artist, orange. Time spent in a kayak watching a river deliver water to the sea is never wasted. You are in your own microcosm untouched by any jinx. As you watch, on the surface ephemera dance, a feather and orange peel float by. Sometimes an artist paints the scene as you drift by. (51 words) Assignment: Aftermath In the field the charred remains of the marquee were surrounded by trampled plastic beer glasses, bits of paper, items of clothing and two battered straw hats. It had been an interesting wedding. There were two hundred guests, all in their best bibs and tuckers. Across the road the church that had hosted the wedding, was so picturesque that the photographer had to be restrained from taking any more photographs. After the service the guests walked to the marquee where drinks were flowing freely and the band played quietly in the corner. After an hour the caterers asked everyone to sit at their designated tables, ready to eat the wedding breakfast. It was the drink that started the trouble, it had been provided in copious amounts by the bar and the fact that Auntie Doris and Auntie Mary had been put on the same table. Nobody ever found out who had made the mistake. Auntie Doris hated Auntie Mary, ever since Uncle Fred had jilted Auntie Doris and run off to marry Auntie Mary. It was a bit tense until the champagne toasts began, after the fourth toast Auntie Doris‟ temper snapped. What was worse was that both aunts has rolled up parasols. The trouble started like this: „You man stealing, low down, sneaking Jezebel,‟ shouted Auntie Doris. „You fat, old, bag of wind,‟ screamed Auntie Mary. „Who are you calling old, you senile drunk.‟ „You are old, you stupid cow.‟ It was then the parasols came into action. Luckily, both were wearing large straw hats which absorbed the impact. The table fell over, food flew and glasses crashed. The bride took Auntie Doris‟ side and the groom Auntie Mary‟s side. The three tiered wedding cake was used for ammunition, the top table toppled and at that point everyone else joined in. Sometime later the emergency services arrived. The police took away the more belligerent guests in black Marias, the bride and groom spent their wedding night in separate cells. The ambulances took the wounded to A&E and the fire brigade put out the burning marquee. The aftermath or more correctly the disastermath was as follows: The bride and groom were reconciled, unlike Auntie Doris and Auntie Mary and the vicar joined a monastery as far away from weddings as possible. The survivors agreed it was a most interesting wedding but it was not an experience they would care to repeat.

Advent Calendar, up and ready, Counting down again, To the birth of special baby, Visited by Three Wise Men. Or am I on the wrong track, No baby there at all! Just a big, red, chuckling Santa, Climbing chimney wall! Some look forward to the infant king, The Nativity, holy birth, A saviour for the people, To unite all those on Earth. A baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, Asleep in box of hay. A blessing for mankind! From that First Christmas Day! Or is it Santa we are waiting for? Carrying bulky sack. Presents for the lucky kids, When there’s nothing much they lack! Parents searching high and low, For this year’s special toy. Forget how much it costs! How easy to destroy! Which way do you see Christmas? Ask my daughter and she’ll say, ‘A satsuma and chestnut stuffing Make it a special day.’ The presents ripped wide open, Littering the floor! What was that peaceful message, Behind the stable door?

Just an observation: a few days ago while shopping and rushing for a bus I came upon a young lad of about 25 or so sitting on the pavement outside Iceland wrapped up in a sleeping bag with a hat laid out for donations. I rushed passed and then stopped by an overwhelming feeling of guilt. What if that was my son? I went back towards the lad and told him about the House of Bread free dinners, he replied they weren‟t open on that day. I would have bought him a sandwich but I would miss the only bus so I gave him all my change (not something to be recommended). But here‟s the thing ... What should one individual do to help another who is suffering? Where should we tell these lost souls to go for help? And, all those self-righteous shoppers who closed their eyes and wandered passed oblivious to suffering, what does that say of them and the vile crooks they voted into office? (AB)

Observations: Why do heating appliances only break down in cold weather? Random Words: Fantasy, vexed, dainty, shoelace, subterfuge, transatlantic, genuine, mystique, sporadic, cheese. The genuine mystique of the actress Binky Flaxenhead was enhanced on a transatlantic liner when her dainty foot was damaged by a loose shoelace. She tripped over and was vexed when she found that she had sprained her ankle. She hobbled to her cabin, demanded a cheese sandwich and a large bottle of champagne. She sent out sporadic demands for ice packs to reduce the swelling. Many young men had the fantasy that they would help apply the ice to the shapely ankle but only the liner’s female doctor was allowed into the cabin. Assignment: Post truth Definition: Post-truth politics (also called post-factual politics) is a political culture in which debate is framed largely by appeals to emotion disconnected from the details of policy, and by the repeated assertion of talking points to which factual rebuttals are ignored. The newly elected Prime Minister got into his chauffeur driven car and set off for a most important meeting with a visiting head of state who was staying in a hotel some two hundred miles away. Some fifty miles into the journey the car broke down and the Prime Minister had to be accommodated in a nearby inn. The car was taken to a local garage where the mechanic started work immediately on fixing the car. The next day the journey was resumed but the car broke down almost immediately and the day before was repeated. The chauffeur asked the mechanic what the problem was. The mechanic replied „The EFM conduit, the snoz-valve and the fuel interlocutor are all damaged and will need replacing.‟ The day after the Prime Minister set off and was getting increasing frustrated because he needed to negotiate an extremely tricky trade deal. The car broke down immediately. The Prime Minister strode into the garage and demanded to see the mechanic, who promptly appeared. The Prime Minister asked angrily „Why haven‟t you mended my car properly?‟ The mechanic replied „Remember your Party‟s election promise to reduce income tax, reduce the working week and put more into the State‟s health service?‟ „Yes, but that was the election.‟ „So you are saying that when the other Parties pointed out that this couldn‟t be done because of the amount of debt the country had, you were not telling the truth.‟ „You don‟t understand, that was an emotional appeal to get my Party elected. It is what we call “Post Truth”.‟ „Ah,‟ said the mechanic „I was also using the expression “Post Truth”, when I said I had mended your car.‟ „You mean you did not mend my car?‟ „That‟s right, I told a lie, just like your party did in the last election.‟ „I can now fix your car, the bill will be large and that is not “Post Truth”.‟ The Prime Minister then used words that are best not written down. (NIGEL PECKETT)


The Flea. MARKE but this flea, and marke in this, How little that which thou deny'st me is; It suck'd me first, and now sucks thee, And in this flea, our two bloods mingled bee; Thou know'st that this cannot be said A sinne, nor shame, nor losse of maidenhead, Yet this enjoyes before it wooe, And pamper'd swells with one blood made of two, And this, alas, is more then wee would doe. Oh stay, three lives in one flea spare, Where wee almost, yea more then maryed are. This flea is you and I, and this Our mariage bed, and mariage temple is; Though parents grudge, and you, w'are met, And cloysterd in these living walls of Jet. Though use make you apt to kill mee, Let not to that, selfe murder added bee, And sacrilege, three sinnes in killing three.

Cruell and sodaine, hast thou since Purpled thy naile, in blood of innocence? Wherein could this flea guilty bee, Except in that drop which it suckt from thee? Yet thou triumph'st, and saist that thou Find'st not thy selfe, nor mee the weaker now; 'Tis true, then learne how false, feares bee; Just so much honor, when thou yeeld'st to mee, Will wast, as this flea's death tooke life from thee.

Project Gutenberg's The Poems of John Donne [2 vols.] Volume I, by John Donne Page 40 The Flea is placed here in the 1633 edition.

LIII What is your substance, whereof are you made, That millions of strange shadows on you tend? Since every one, hath every one, one shade, And you but one, can every shadow lend. Describe Adonis, and the counterfeit Is poorly imitated after you; On Helen's cheek all art of beauty set, And you in Grecian tires are painted new: Speak of the spring, and foison of the year, The one doth shadow of your beauty show, The other as your bounty doth appear; And you in every blessed shape we know. In all external grace you have some part, But you like none, none you, for constant heart.

LIV O! how much more doth beauty beauteous seem By that sweet ornament which truth doth give. The rose looks fair, but fairer we it deem For that sweet odour, which doth in it live. The canker blooms have full as deep a dye As the perfumed tincture of the roses. Hang on such thorns, and play as wantonly When summer's breath their masked buds discloses: But, for their virtue only is their show, They live unwoo'd, and unrespected fade; Die to themselves. Sweet roses do not so; Of their sweet deaths, are sweetest odours made: And so of you, beauteous and lovely youth, When that shall vade, by verse distills your truth. (educational/nfp usage)

Roman Britain: somewhere very near here on the, being constructed, Watling Street Year 130AD early March so the grand opening is supposed to be on the 15th (it had to be, didn't it) .... Trentbilious Fort (aka Gailey) Site of work camp, and Fort and wannabe CITY, for building the Watling Street, an arterial road for troop marching ... (Appinan 5 on their route map) Building has started in Deva (Chester) and at Londinium. The two ends of the road are supposed to meet at Trentbilious – they don’t – hence a roundabout will be needed through the car park of the Spread Eagle pub. Two other roads going south east are also supposed to join at this junction. It’s a hub, a trading post. Lots of nefarious opportunities.

Temple of Vespa: Vera and Gloria Vespals and keepers of the sacred flame Temple of Queen of Heaven: Isadora, High Priestess; Galenodorius, Greek Doctor; Hilarious, Theatre Owner puts on plays Gladiators: Bresslorian, Glutinous Maximus and Flirticus Traders: Collectus Alloto (scrap metal recycler) Bathhouse Slaves: Smerkio & Flavia Exotica Undertakers: Habeous and Corpus Bertha Velcrow: madam, keeper of a seedy hotel — mother of Angelica & Agnus Terrible dentist and a pink concreted lion Chinese acupuncturists Three time travelling characters in a balloon.

The Ninth legion have already started marching up from Londinium for the celebration and Gladiator games are to be held at great expense. Vicus: All the good positions are held by the totally corrupt Bluddschotticus family Magistratus : Freedman Nigellos Bluddschotticus, he sub contracted out the road works hence the grievous error in mapping, Viola Bluddschotticus, his shrew of a wife who wants Nigellos to gain Plebeian Citizenship (grade three Roman Citizenship) at any cost Bean counters: Titus Purcious (Librarius, book keeper) and Teflonicus Maximus, Gias Velcrow (very simple scribe adopted by Titus’s sisterinlaw Angelica when found in a basket ... So, who is he?)Agnus, Angelica’s sister Boris Bluddschott (no icus) Brother of Nigellous, (Welsh) wife Blodwyn, dim and jealous, son Bulch, lazy and hairy Forum: Soothesayer: Fortunata Agonyia Arntyous Fort: Commander Fattassius Fatallis; Daftus Brushius (second in command) Regional Commander/Senator Marpellius Domestios coming with the Ninth Legion to open the joining of the roads Guards: Pearmainus, Bacon Fryed, Hovis Brightus

Roman Timeline: Real and Fictitious Roads construction between 45 and 410 AD 60/61 Boudica Rebellion 98 -117 Marcus Ulpius TRANJANUS pushed the ‘limes’ frontiers out to greatest extent (Spanish) 110AD OUR HADRIAN VISITS TRENTBILIOUS – meets Angelica Velcrow (Bertha Velcrow’s daughter) and fathers Gias Velcrow the scribe slave who she claims to ‘find’ in a basket and adopts 117 to 138 Publius Aelius HADRIANUS (Spanish) 120 - 123 Hadrian’s Wall Built OUR STORY 130 AD 138 to 161 Titus Aelius ANTONINUS PIUS (Antonine Wall)

STYLE SHEET READ THIS FIRST PLEASE BEFORE SUBMITTING We have decided to make some submission changes, to make it easier and fairer: There will be a pool of stock characters as usual. Contributors will be restricted to three exclusive characters of their own making per plot strand. Contributors must not use any other contributor‟s exclusive characters. Contributors must have a plotline approved before starting. Contributors may only submit 500 words per week. Block submissions will not be accepted. It is important to other writers to be able to hear storylines unfolding week by week. The page limit of the book aims to be 150 pages. The house font is Tahoma 12pt - no tables, no bold, no italics, no coloured inks, no centred headings, „ for speech not “ , no underlining, no attachments, all submissions in ragged-right-edge embedded email, all submissions to be spelled checked and grammar checked prior to submission. One space only after a full stop. All contributors should acquaint themselves how to punctuate dialogue. A Buddy system, where a beginner may be asking the advice of a more experienced contributor prior to submission, is to be encouraged.

A Mosaic Too Far ACW The Dragon Whisperer Acupuncturist banked his big dragon to bring the dragon kite-cum-han (g)-glider squadron into formation. Galenodorius had asked for a diversion to help Agnes escape, during her shopping day out. He had landed only to find all the shops closed and Agnes not at Titus‟s villa. The Han glider had gone missing. A dragon rider broke ranks, crying in alarm. „Hey Bro, look up at what I‟ve put together.‟ The Dragon Whisperer Acupuncturist looked up and gasped. A whole Greek warship suspended beneath a great dragon kite, plying the wind under a great sky sail, gliding effortlessly with the ship in full sail. Agnes waved down from amidships, held in the arms of Aristarchos. Their beaming smiles suddenly frozen as they saw Titus and the Fort Commandant‟s enraged faces accompanied by a contingent of Roman soldiers with a ballista, the Fort‟s catapult siege engine. „Where‟s my boy-on-the-dolphin mosaic, not the mishmash you left with that gory beast and gladiator that made Angelica sick all over every floor on her way to take to her bed?‟ screamed Titus. Fattassious, the Fort Commandant, boomed: „A Roman fort with a mosaic of gentle muses, dancing girls wrapped from head to foot. A girlie design in a fort? I‟ll feed you to the crocodiles in the games.‟ The Dragon Whisperer Acupuncturist (DWA for short) boomed down, „You‟re too late, our dragon riders have released all the circus beasts.‟ „Games without gladiators fighting beasts and folk condemned to death! The games will be a derisory fight against professional gladiators,‟ moaned the Fort Commander. „Come down here. We‟ll put you and your Greek crew in the arena.‟ The DWA roared with laughter, „You and whose army? No Roman can beat us.‟ Achilles Junior crowed down from the bow of the airship, „And you think you can defeat legendary Greeks? Huh!‟ A griffin kite rider further added, „You forget fantastical beasts that could get a taste for humankind.‟ Not to be outdone: „We have invoked a god for protection. You try that and you‟ll be turned to stone,‟ sneered Titus, feeling brave with a soldier at his side: „You‟ll turn into mere gargoyles for decoration of our villas.‟ While crowing upward defiance Titus was not looking when he was going as he strode along the road and fell head first into the ditch, becoming sodden in reeking watery mud. Very foul, very dark. Fattassious, Fort Commandant, tried to alight from his chariot but the three horses had had enough of flying beasts and all the weirdness going on and stampeded off. Never a good horseman, Fattassious fell off the sprung webbing floor into a rubbish pile, crying out in amazement as he sank into the sodden rotting remains: „Ah that‟s where my favourite naughty, paintedpottery went.‟ Thus proving there‟s always a silver lining in any adversity.

Note to contributors: Please try to remember it‟s a ROMAN comedy.

A Cunning Plan? (NP) Brother Unum woke up next morning with a splitting headache thanks to Brother Duo‟s gallons of wine. Unum thought at the next meeting there would be more doing and less drinking and eating. Brother Unum called a meeting and announced his plan. „Brothers and sisters,‟ he announced. „Sisters. What sisters?‟ queried Brother Duo. „I have decided to enrol sisters, Brothers.‟ „Women as TRUMPS. What a silly idea.‟ „This is not a democracy. I have decided to enrol sisters. So shut up.‟ At this point there was a general mumbling and grumbling until Sister Una took the stage. Even though she wore a loose fitting robe it was apparent that Sister Una had assets that plugged straight into the male TRUMPs‟ libidos. The grumbling stopped. Sister Una thought that the male TRUMPS would be easy to manage, or more correctly she thought. What a load of weedy blokes, I will be able to twist them round my little finger. Brother Unum continued, „Brothers and Sisters we are going to free the animals held in captivity.‟ „Hooray, Hooray!‟ came the chorus „How?‟ asked Duo Brother Duo was beginning to annoy Brother Unum and Sister Una. Sister Una explained patiently, „We are going to dig tunnels to the amphitheatre, the animals‟ compounds and set them free.‟ „Where are we going to put all the earth we dig out and where are we going to get the wood to hold up the tunnel?‟ asked Duo. Brother Duo was seriously getting on the Brethren‟s and Sistren‟s nerves. He thought he was being helpful whereas everyone else thought he was being a wet blanket and pain the lower back. „Waste soil will be carted out with the night soil of the vicus,‟ answered Brother Unum. He also thought that Brother Duo might also be carted off with night soil, preferably at the bottom of the cart underneath a nice brown overcoat and then dumped in a field. Dumped being the operative word. The plan took shape, tools would be stolen from the road builders, the wood from the trees cut back from the side of the roads. The tunnel started next day and everything went well for a short while. Unfortunately, the tunnel was routed under public latrina and was too near the surface. The latrina drain was damaged and the night soil, or more correctly slurry, gave the TRUMPs a smelly surprise. The miners carried on manfully, mainly because no woman was daft enough to go into the tunnel or as it was now called the Cloaca Maxima. The tunnel was rapidly rerouted and the offending section blocked off. The tunnellers worked on day and night and managed to get the exit out to the nearby woods. Soon the animals would be free or would they? The exit route went under Nigel Bluddschotticus‟ garden, what could possibly go wrong?


coming, he‟s coming,‟ called Daftus in a school-boy high pitched voice, in response to which nearby guardsmen shook their heads. What an idiot! Jumping up and down their fearless leader waved and shouted in his excitement from the top of the Gatehouse. Watching from their villas, Nigellous Bluddshotticus and Fort Commander Fattassious were not so gleeful. Dusk was falling but would it be dark enough for their plan to work. On top of the roof of the Spread Eagle Inn, Teflonicus and Titus were of the same mind as they watched the on-coming procession approaching much faster than hoped, crowds were streaming out to line the route waving and cheering the Senator. The bill boards were a simply brilliant idea.

Unfortunately, unbeknown to Titus, there hadn‟t been enough time to prepare as many boards as were required. Smerkio had come up with a cunning plan. Thus a team of slaves from the bathhouse (all being paid real money to keep quiet) were stationed with a pony and cart at the furthest end of the already erected boards on the Londiniun section. Thus hidden in the trees the happy band were enjoying an afternoon off furnace watching, even if they were blinking a bit in the unaccustomed daylight, and were downing mead (supplied unwillingly by Titus, blessings upon him and may his clan increase). As the last mule in the last of the Senator‟s (who didn‟t believe in travelling light), baggage train disappeared from view and entered the Vicus, the band nipped out of hiding and began uprooting the bill boards. It took longer than anticipated. Some idiot had had some of the posts cemented into place. Some cursing by the gods ensued, but by midnight the cart was full of boards and part two of the cunning plan began. In the darkness the cart with its heavy load and angry pony, set off up the track which formed the western side of the roundabout having first removed the pair of double billboards which had concealed the trackway from view from the Senator‟s procession. Smerkio lumbered out of the darkness carrying a small light. „Hail, Gias!,‟ he whispered in a very loud whisper. „Don‟t you, hail Gias me,‟ came the reply as a youth sodden in mire squelched from behind the cart. „Why did I get this job? And, who cemented the posts in?‟ Smerkio cast a fatherly arm round the youngster, which in some circles could have earned him a flogging. But, these were interesting times and some of the rigid class boundaries were falling by the wayside as all concerned were concerned about keeping their heads on their shoulders. „All is well, the holes for the posts are being dug as we speak, we‟ll have these up in a hour tops.‟ Gias groaned, he‟d heard grown men‟s approximation of time before. In his opinion as a bookkeeper, he knew all jobs actually took three times as long as planned, needed twice as many slaves and cost four times as much as expected or budgeted for. „No Smerkio, you will have these up. Me, I‟m off to Gran‟s. I‟m supposed to be helping with the feasting of the Senator.‟ Hardening his nose into a sneer, Smerkio removed the fatherly arm with a jerk, as Gias disappeared into the darkness heading towards the Vicus. He didn‟t supposed for one minute that he‟d be required to help out with any feasting at the Spread Eagle. „Come on lads, we‟ve got to get these boards up on the Deva Road and that pony back to Nigellous before daylight ...‟ Okay, all goo

d stories have to have a map or a drawn p lan ... It worked for To so this might lkien and it worked for M ar not be Weste ros or Middle tin, but this is our Earth s for the Trent bili If anyo ne wan ts to have a go us roundabout. at a please do so ...’cos my brai better map n hurts ...

Senator route out Deva section of road


Animal/ Gladiator housing


GAMES Amphitheatre Temples

Public latrina Posh Villas


Spread Eagle


FORT Stables and barracks



Sides of roundabout Bill boards

Senator route in from Londinium section of road

What can go wrong… (will go wrong) Maximus called for a meeting with the animal handlers. „Right, we will need to work on the amphitheatre; we need animal cages, some gates to let the animals in and out, some rooms for the gladiators to change in and we need to find a way of flooding the amphitheatre for the water battle.‟ „How long have we got?‟ asked Minibus „About two days.‟ „What, we can‟t do all that in two days.‟ „Well if we don‟t then we will be lion fodder, or worse still back in the ranks as munifex (privates).‟ „Catharticus, Infectious round up the slaves and any Britons you can find and get back here quickly,‟ shouted Minibus. „Right boss,‟ said Infectious setting off at a run. Half an hour later they all assembled in the centre of the amphitheatre. „Minibus, take some of the crew and find a water source and pipe it to the amphitheatre. „Catharticus, build some cages.‟ „Infectious, you sort out gates and rooms to change in.‟ Off they all ran and were soon busy as beavers. The water was not as difficult as they thought the river ran nearby and a ditch ran very near to the amphitheatre. It didn‟t take much digging or piping to get the water ready. „Can we have a quick water test Maximus,‟ queried Mininbus. „Yes, everyone can go for a lunch break, just get on with it.‟ Meanwhile, not far underground the TRUMPs were nearing the amphitheatre. The tunnel led from the woods to the centre of the amphitheatre. However, our intrepid miners were too near the surface. When the water flooded into the amphitheatre the roof of the tunnel caved in and the water rushed in. Remember the problem with the public latrina? The water raced down the blocked tunnel and the Roman occupants of the latrina were treated to a reverse flush. The bidet had been invented. The water carried on and surfaced under the pond of Nigellous Bluddschotticus‟ garden. The statuary washed away, the plants washed away, indeed, the whole garden rushed off into the surrounding countryside. As Nigellous looked out of his window he could see that his villa was surrounded with water. So not only the bidet had been invented so had the moat. All that was now needed was the invention of the drawbridge to let Nigellous leave home without a boat.

Random words: deliver feather

artist kayak microcosm leaf jinx spent orange ephemera

Jamie was a gifted young artist. His work, though abstract, had elements of the allegorical and symbolic. He used bits and pieces such as orange peel, feathers, leaves and other such ephemera in his collages, and spent many hours painstakingly arranging and glueing these in place on the canvas. His latest piece depicted an Indian kayak sailing on a blue ocean. He leaned the finished picture against the studio wall……but was dismayed to see his large dog sniff it, eat some of the edible components, and lift his leg in the corner, leaving a yellow stain down one side. Just then the gallery owner knocked at his door. “Oh no! Talk about bad timing! I must be jinxed!” Jamie groaned. Paul swept past him and seized the said canvas. “This your latest? I LOVE it!” he exclaimed. “I can see what you are trying to say. It‟s a microcosm of modern life, cleverly encapsulated in found objects! You really do deliver a strong message.” “I do? It is?” Jamie asked. He quickly recovered. “It is indeed! Glad the message came through loud and clear.” He patted the dog on his head. “I have my dog to thank for my inspiration.” He told Paul. “Then you must be sure to use him again!” Paul replied. Observation- I was dismayed to learn that the „word of the year‟ for 2016, which has been declared this week by the Oxford Dictionary, is “post-truth.” Both the word (or should I say, phrase?) itself and its meaning fills me with horror!

post-truth: relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.

My dog has to wear a muzzle when we go out, to prevent scavenging, as she has a condition which means she must be on a strict diet. She was snuffling about in a pile old dead leaves, when one got stuck in the bars of the muzzle. She looked very funny and reminded me of a favourite childhood character… Ermintrude, the cow from The Magic Roundabout, with the daisy hanging out of her mouth.

Random words: cheese, fantasy, vexed, dainty, shoelace, subterfuge, Trans-Atlantic, genuine, mystique sporadic 'For Christmas this year,' whispered Dad in Ma's ear, 'How about something other than cheese? Of cheese I am fond, there's a genuine bond, but I'm fast losing track of my knees. ‘My stomach's got huge and it's no subterfuge that tying a shoelace exhausts, my once dainty feet are dying of heat and trotting around really costs. ‘So I've ordered, my love, and I hope you'll approve a cruise Trans-Atlantic in tone the mystique of New York will afford us fine talk with our friends when at last we get home.’ But Ma's fantasy Yule involves a small mule carved from Cheddar and Gloucester Blue, Dad's sporadic ideas over the years just confirm that he hasn't a clue of what Christmas should be - fancy going to sea what on earth will he come up with next? 'I'd rather have cheese,' she smiled adding 'please,' but under her breath - 'Ee, I'm vexed!' (Anne Picken)

Home cooking is the best. It's the real glue that holds people together. If you have family recipes and want to send them in I'll find a place for them. To start us off here’s a great one from Alan: (who obviously grows the vegetables on his allotments) Recipe: I was watching Jamie Oliver on his Superfoods program the other week and was inspired to come up with the following use of chard:Using chard in a Starter for three people. 3 Slices of Toast 6 Large Chard Leaves Thin Slice of Ham Egg Grated Cheese 2 Sliced Tomatoes Splash of Milk Quickly wilt the chard in boiling water and then drain and blitz in a food processor the 6 large Chard leaves minus the stalks with a splash of milk, a thin slice of Ham and an Egg. Pre-cook the mixture in an oven, in an ovenproof bowl, for ten minutes, or so until it thickens and then spread onto the toast. Put more grated Cheese on top of the mixture with sliced Tomatoes spaced evenly over and put back into the oven on for a few minutes until the Cheese has melted.

AFTERMATH OF CARELESS VOTING (with apologies to Longfellow) by Mary Murphy The announcement in The Echo said the Headmaster was leaving – not because of misbehaviour but the rules of his engagement: two x four years was the limit of the time he was allowed. The Committee then did open up the contest to All Comers: no experience was needed, just a plan to take things forward. But this new elastic contract was to cause them untold problems, for into this wide arena strode a vision strange indeed ... His application was impressive, mentioning vast gold and riches made from modest small beginnings of a million – perhaps three. The Committee soon was dazzled – "So in what sphere is your business? And just how will it enhance our complex and diverse school?" "I'm a Circus Owner, Sir, and with your indulgence and permission, I can swiftly change the fortunes of your ailing, failing school." Consternation round the table furrowed brows and raised some others: some were worried at this person – and his smiling insouciance – but some others sensed the gold that could be had if they said "Yes". "And with all your . . . circus training, how would that enhance the lessons of our complex, diverse school, Sir, and please our Governors also?" "I'd replace them, Sir, with elephants and diversionary wild creatures – in no time, Sir, you'll be dazzled by my Tic-Tacs and my tactics. All your pupils – those that stayed – Sir, will be whipped up in a frenzy and bewitched, Sir, by my Team." The qualms were felt by many, overwhelmed by whoops and shouting – even the Deputy was yelling "Let's just give this man a chance! He may not know what he's doing nor have much – or any – clue yet

how to run a complex school containing children and their problems but we know he's good with seals and how high the hoops they jump through – he'll train up our diverse pupils to a shape just like his own!" So the motion just was passed – with the half still quietly seething that this joker had convinced so with his crazy leopard notions, sweeping all the calm and reason so far underneath the carpet: the Deputy's own vote had sealed the outcome beyond hoping. So when term began in Autumn with fewer pupils now attending – for the parents who dissented received letters of dismissal and the Registers had shrunken to a few score names or so – the playground it was teaming with Big Tops and lion cages, inside which were lions raging at the chimpanzees and such. Thought the Governors – those remaining – were beginning to have doubts now: just how was all this transferring crucial skills the children needed? But the new Headmaster bellowed "Trust me – I'm your school's best saviour! I'll soon have the children jumping through the hoops, just like my seals! They'll complete exams on Twitter and there's no point feeling bitter – the Governors all voted and now I'm here to stay!" And when the town woke up the next day and the next, they found it was all true.

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Issue 465 RBW Online  

Photos of annual lunch, recipe for chard, poetry, comedy continues, assignments and random words