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Big Jugs And Pop-Up Meat

September 8, 2021 11:14am Published by Jules Smith in Whimsy On A Wednesday 15 Comments

Satirical Snapshots Bringing You Whimsy On A Wednesday!

From the title of this blog, I would bet my top hat and tails that you thought something “ooh-err-misses” might follow.  

Something a little bit juicy perhaps?  Well, yes you are right.

Something a bit top rack? Yes, also correct.

But not in the way you think, dear reader, and quite frankly, I’m outraged. What sort of blog do you think this is?

The Brave New World

I got taken on a magical mystery tour to go and do “Something Exciting” last week. Generally, I’m a big fan of being taken into the wilderness and given a challenge but for some reason when I was told about this surprise I found myself being a bit of an arse.

“I don’t really like surprises, can you just tell me what it is?”

“No.”

“Well what am I supposed to wear?”

“Anything you like.”

“Fine. I shall come in a ball gown and disastrously high heels.”

“OK.”

It definitely wasn’t kayaking then. Or, maybe it was…

Barn Art The Food Of The Soul

Turns out it was pottery painting. In a large barn in the middle of a field, in the middle of nowhere. 

What happens is that you pick a pot of your choice and you paint it. 

I chose a large jug because I like to use them as vases. They’re more interesting than vases and they can double up and be used for lashings of gravy when the flowers die. 

Normally, you only get one hour to paint at these places but thankfully this one lets you stay until you’re finished. Good job, because my idea took four- long-hours. In my wisdom, I decided to paint a wildflower scene on my jug so that it went with the vase theme. Never doing that again. By the time I’d painted my last poppy and cornflower I had a deep hatred for anything floral. What I neglected to take into account was that you have to paint each thing three times over if you want the colour to pop. I maybe should have listened to that part of the pre-training before I decided to paint a forest garden. 

That said, I prevailed and shouted, “I’ve Finished! Hallelujah!”  just as the woman who ran the place had decided to bugger off and lock me in. 

Ewer Won’t Believe it

You have to leave your masterpiece behind so the lady can glaze it and make it all professionally shiny. I hate waiting for things. A few days later I went to collect my pitcher of painted perfection and I was not disappointed. 

Decanter your pre- conceptions and take a look at my growler!  [informal. a pitcher, pail, or other container brought by a customer for beer and not what you thought]

I thought about investing in a kiln but then remembered I already have 465 hobbies. 

Have You seen That Anchor?

And then there was more!

“There’s a pop-up smokehouse at the back of The Anchor in Plungar. Fancy a burger?”

“Don’t mind if I do.”

The surprises just kept getting better!

Deep in the Vale of Belvoir, in the back garden of a country pub, came “Smiffy’s Smokehouse ‘Burger Fest.'”  Known throughout the land for bringing the deep south flavour of authentic BBQ to street food.

Meat lover, (and once actor), Aaron Smith, got to know some guys in America who did cook-offs and became southern inspired, buying his own smoker and dishing up hard-wood smoked brisket, burgers, and pork, along with pit beans, chilli and loaded fries. Over the last few years his food has gone down a storm in the restaurant area and now he also does pop-up smokin’ BBQ’s  at venues.

The weather was good. The beer was flowing. The punters were jolly. A medley of country rock blared from the speakers. Thank God my cowboy boots were mended because I felt proper authentic.

To be fair, this was one of the juiciest and tastiest burgers I’ve ever eaten. 

With loaded fries, of course.

Rumours spread fast in village England. So good was the pop-up burger fest that even Jason Momoa came for a snack.

Followed by one of Tupac’s stage managers. 

You don’t have to go far to see the infamous here. 

Put that in your brioche bun and smoke it, Hollywood. 

 

What A Load Of Cobblers!

September 1, 2021 8:09am Published by Jules Smith in Whimsy On A Wednesday 8 Comments

Satirical Snapshots Bringing You Whimsy On A Wednesday!

Cobbler [ kob -ler ]

  • A person who mends shoes
  • A man’s testicles – From rhyming slang cobbler’s awls ‘balls’
  • Nonsense – what a load of old cobblers
  • Some say it’s a pie – we call it a crumble

About 2 years ago my favourite cowboy boots broke. When I say favourite, you have to understand that I have several different pairs of cowboy boots and they are all my favourite in their own arena. But, these particular square-toed, everyday boots were my dossing around ones that looked pretty good with everything and ended up being my ‘go-to’ boot. When the leather tore away from the sides, and the soles got ‘oles, and the heels weren’t there any more, I took them to the High Street shoe repairers. Unfortunately, I went to a well-known franchise that didn’t really have the capacity or knowledge to deal with such a travesty. A simple re-sole, a fancy bone-shaped tag for your dog’s collar, or a key for your front door is about where their skill-set is at.

 “Can’t repair them, love,” he said.

 I stuck them back in the orange, plastic Sainsbury’s carrier bag and put them back in my truck behind the driver’s seat. 

Then we went into lockdown and everything shut.

Let’s Hit The Road, Jack

As disappointed as I was about life without freedom and cowboy boots, I decided to make up for it at Christmas by demanding two pairs of Panama Jacks.

These are quality leather boots that are made for the adventurer. They have a very out in the English countryside kind of vibe. They’re lovely and I like them a lot. But they’re not my cowboy boots. 

If You’re Gonna Be Crazy You Need To Start From The Feet Up – JS

A few weeks ago, I decided to clean out my truck and found my ‘ole bewwwts in the back. Right! Now that everything is open again I am going to go into the city and find that old cobbler who makes his own shoes. He’ll be able to sort them out!  This task had now become an even higher priority because all of a sudden cowboy boots have come into fashion and anyone on-trend is wearing them. I swear to God I paved the way for this. How utterly annoying that there are chicks out there in my land wearing cheap knock off cowboy boots when I have the real deal right here in the bag. 

I took a trip to the city, walked up the hill to the ole, ole shoe shop and when I got there the bloody thing was shut.

Empty.

Not a cobbler or boot in sight.

I was taken aback by this. How could he not be here? This cannot be true. I even rattled the door in case it was some kind of joke. Unable to accept my misfortune I went into the cafe next door and asked about his whereabouts.

“Oh, he’s shut shop. Buggered off to Spain to be a singer.”

There Is Great Power In The Right Pair Of Boots

I searched the internet and would you believe I found an even older cobbler that did all cobblyish things just 20 minutes down the road from me. The oldest in the city, it boasted. So, I took them there.

The place looked proper quaint, part of an old Victorian house with a big square bay window with all leathery loveliness on show. The shop looked like it belonged in a Disney film. There was a queue outside. Good sign. When I got in I was greeted by the cobbler’s wife. I said, “Can you mend my boots?”  As I pulled them out of the bag for the first time in 18 months, I realised that leaving damp boots in plastic for that long is not a good idea. They looked shocking. The leather was all split and cracked and if I didn’t know better I would have thought the meeces had been at ‘em. 

‘Ooh… I’m going to have to ask the boss,” she said. 

King Cobbler came over, took one look at them and said, “They’re knackered. Chuck ‘em away.”

“I will not!” I said. “I’ve come all the way across this land because you said you were the cobbliest cobbler of all! 

“The leather is knackered. You haven’t looked after them.”

These Boots Were Made For Walking

“These boots cannot die”, I said. They have walked the land of the free and brave: they’ve ranched in Virginia, line danced at Luckenbach, sifted through the sand at Santa Monica, nifty-footed through Nashville, Taken on Texas, Fast foo…..

“Fine. Let me look at ‘em.”

After a lecture about not oiling them, and having worn them to destruction, the ole, ole cobbler agreed to take on the challenge. 

I skipped out of that shop. Skipped, I did.

Three Long Weeks To Change The World

I waited. Like a patient little saint. As soon as Mrs Cobbler rang me to say they were ready, I Panama Jacked it to the shop. Signed and stitched with the Royal Crown Seal these must now be the only American/English hybrid Cowboy Boots on the market. Take that, fashion influencers!

“Now go and oil them,” said the master. 

I took them home and creamed them up for two days until they looked like vintage awesomeness.

Never give up on a good thing, reader.

THE BOOTS HAVE BEEN REBORN.

 

White Nancy

August 18, 2021 7:49am Published by Jules Smith in Whimsy On A Wednesday 13 Comments

White Nancy of Bollington

Satirical Snapshots Bringing You Whimsy On A Wednesday

The other weekend I helped deliver an item to a family member who has just moved up to Cheshire.

The beautiful Northwest of England, situated within the stunning Peak District. When the sun is shining there is nowhere more picturesque and oh so typically English. And, the sun was shining making the trip through Snake Pass absolutely gorgeous. So long as you keep your eyes on the curves and don’t get distracted by the views and nearly run into sheep that meander into the middle of the road to try and kill you, Snake Pass is one of the best drives in the UK through a mountain pass but also one of the most dangerous. 

I arrived at the beautiful hamlet of Bollington – known as “Happy Valley” and considered the best place to live in the northwest and once part of the Earl of Chester’s manor back in the Middle Ages.

However, being a cynical English person, going anywhere south of Manchester named “Happy Valley” has you thinking that everyone is likely to be “off their tits” on something and that’s likely how it got its moniker. 

Talking of Tits

I arrived at the chocolate box stone cottage and stood at the front door looking out at the view and thinking, ‘What a fabulous place to live. To open your front door and see an unobstructed view of freedom meandering up a hill.’

Nice, right? Then I noticed a white building atop of the hill that looked like an elongated tit.

“What’s that?” I asked.

“That’s White Nancy”

Intrigue was set. “Oh?” My inner art philosopher demanded more. “And what exactly is White Nancy?”

“Dunno. Nobody really knows. It’s just a big rock painted white. Everyone around here is obsessed with it though. Even the local football team have it pictured on their shirts. Once a couple got caught shagging next to it and because of how the light fell you could see their shadows going at it all down the hillside. Pictures ended up on Facebook and it was the talk of the town for ages” 

“Lovely.”

“Every Christmas a brass band walks up to the top of the hill and the locals go with.”

I could already see a Channel 4 Drama being played in my mind. 

“But what is it?” I asked again.

“Don’t know….”

It’s Just White Nancy

This is typical of the English. We just accept that things are there and they’re called something weird and it’s just how it is in England. But not me. I nearly killed myself on the way in wanting to stop and take a photo of a street named “Hooleyhey Lane” because I found it satisfyingly quirky. 

I needed to know more about White Nancy and figured I’d just have to find out myself.

Research didn’t reveal much since there is very little history pertaining to Bollington before the 19th century, other than it is a structure on top of Kerridge Hill and is a designated grade II listed building. 

Oh, what a playground for the storyteller! I closed my eyes, pictured White Nancy atop of Kerridge Hill, and summoned my experience from the Billy Wynt of Wales. Sure enough, the ghost of Nancy revealed herself to me and the story unfolded.

The Story of White Nancy

By Jules Smith

Back in 1794 at the start of the Napoleonic wars, a fair faced girl was born to a farming couple in the northwest. She was their only child, after years of trying, and they named her Nancy.  She grew up on the farm and became a proficient milkmaid, sitting atop a cock of hay milking cows and then delivering milk, butter, cream, and cheese to alleyway markets and the Gaskell’s of Ingersley Hall. Milkmaids were known as the prettiest girls in the land and at the tender age of 21, Nancy was no exception. Her hair fell in ringlets the colour of scorched straw and her eyes were as grey as the mountain top clouds in November. 

Nancy would travel on her grey draft horse called Prance with her deliveries on a small handmade cart. Once a week she would take the Gritstone Trail all the way to Mow Cop with cheese in her saddle bags for the Old Man O’Mow. Nancy loved to ride the day away, sometimes making as much as 40 miles, and spent her time wondering about the rest of the world that lived far off past the horizon. 

John Gaskell of Ingersley Hall took a shining to Nancy. There seemed to be something other-worldly about the peasant girl. He wondered if she might even be a celestial being as her smile alone warmed him better than the great hall fire. She reminded him very much of his favourite aunt, also called Nancy, who had a way of endearing herself to people. John would watch Nancy bring cheer to his staff with her friendly manner when she delivered produce to the kitchen and found himself looking forward to her twice-weekly visits. So much so, he offered her some cleaning work polishing brass and silver in the hall so he could see her more often.

 Now, John Gaskell was a much older married man and one may have thought this type of behaviour quite unsavoury. The Lord of the Manor and the scullery maid might be a story to tickle our fancies today but back in 1815, this sort of behaviour would be frowned upon. However, be that as it may, John’s intentions were far from anything but the purest of love. He could not quite explain it to himself, how he felt so attached to Nancy and had a deep yearning to make her life better as she, unknowingly, did so for him. John decided that his only surviving son, Thomas of Ingersley would be a better man were he to be betrothed to Nancy rather than his current lady- friend, Mary Upton Slack.  

Nancy had a rudimentary literary education, being a farm girl, so John Gaskell would read her stories from his books and teach her of historic events whilst she cleaned the fender. He found her demeanour refreshingly guileless and unaffected by societal tiers. Nancy looked upon the world in awe and expected nothing from it. The simplicity of her life carried through to her way of looking at it and seemed to bring untold happiness and love to everything she did. Nancy appeared infused with tenderness. His son, Thomas would often be invited in to work on the land accounts with his father in the study whilst Nancy worked, in the vain attempt to form an unbreakable union. And it worked a treat, in some respects, for who could not become smitten with a girl like Nancy?

However, John’s wife, Elizabeth, and Thomas’ intended, Mary became incredibly jealous of the milkmaid and the attention being thrown upon her. Elizabeth often demanded that Nancy clean another room where she and Mary took afternoon tea. The pair would ridicule her and let her know in no uncertain terms that she was nothing better than a lowly bumpkin. 

Elizabeth ordered cows to be sent to Ingersley Hall, refusing to buy what came from Nancy’s parent’s farm. She insisted that Nancy could milk the cows of Ingersley in the stables and stay out of the comforts of the great house and far away from her husband and son. Nancy could not refuse because her parents needed the money and rumour had spread around the village that Nancy had caused a terrible rift within the family which affected further sales due to gossiping ne’er-do-wells. She owed it to her parents to bring home what had been lost to them from Ingersley Hall.

Still, Nancy continued to work tirelessly and with good spirit, singing as she milked in her pale blue dress. On one warm August morning, quite a commotion occurred. Nancy’s great Shire horse had got loose and run amok in Ingersley Hall gardens. Elizabeth Gaskell came and berated Nancy and banished her from the house.  A stoneworker and gardener who worked for the Gaskell’s had caught Prance and led him back to the stable. His name was Valentine. He found Nancy crying near a pail of upturned milk and tried to reassure her. Valentine had been working on some fencing on the land and had witnessed Lady Elizabeth and Mary untie the horse and spook it with garden hoes and rakes. Their intentions were obviously malicious and engineered whilst Master John Gaskell worked away in London. Valentine didn’t tell Nancy of what he’d seen, believing that such ill intent was better left residing in its vile inhabitants. Instead, he walked with Nancy up the Kerridge Hill where they sat sharing his bread and her cheese as the sun sank into the grass. 

A beautiful union was made that day and continued thereafter. Valentine lived a humble life, residing in a workers stone cottage on the Gaskell estate. His mother had died of cholera and his father a drunk. His brother had been shot as a deserter from the British army and all Valentine had was a pocket full of memories. Now he had Nancy and he felt like the luckiest man in all the world. He and Nancy would spend many evenings on top of Kerridge Hill supping small beer they had collected from the Shoulder Of Mutton Inn and talking about possibilities. 

However, upon learning of Nancy and Valentine’s union, Elizabeth Gaskell fired him from the staff, branding him a traitor and leaving him broke and homeless. 

John Gaskell returned from London and became outraged at what had occurred in his absence. His son, Thomas, had weakly sided with his mother and Mary and could not see past his entitled status the opportunity he had passed. John searched for Nancy and Valentine and found them on top of Kerridge Hill, breaking bread and staring into the horizon. He offered them both their jobs back promising his wife would have no further dealings with them. But Valentine was a man of principle and said he would be seeking his fortune someplace else. Perhaps beyond the horizon where Nancy left her dreams. Dreams that floated across the Cheshire plain and reached to the far western mountains of North Wales and north and east across the Pennines. 

The pain in Nancy’s eyes at Valentine’s announcement speared John’s heart with sorrow. When someone so kindly and innocent is caused hurt by the wrongdoings of others, a sickness envelops you. John could not bear the thought of Nancy being bereft and sad and knew she would not leave as she would feel a sense of duty to her parents. Beauty deserved company and the company she had found in Valentine was something made in Heaven.

Love fuels love and be damned that it dare be suffocated by another. 

John Gaskell asked the pair to meet him the following day on top of the hill. 

It is said that John Gaskell’s love for Nancy knew no bounds. Such as it is, with a purity of any emotion. He gave money and passage out of Bollington for the pair to make a good life somewhere past the horizon. He also saw to it that Nancy’s parents were well compensated and became the main supplier to Ingersley Hall kitchen. 

The only thing left and found grazing on top of Kerridge Hill a few days later was a great grey Shire horse with snowflake markings on his nose. Some say this is where Nancy kissed her horse goodbye. 

John Gaskell hired a man called Dod to build a folly on top of Kerridge Hill. A summerhouse, perchance for people to use when they needed respite. 

Dod is known to have celebrated this work finding joy and cheer from the energy that floated atop the hill, often reciting his own jingle after a tot of Brandy:

Here’s to the mountain of Nancy

That’s built upon Ingersley Hill

Here’s good health, wealth and fancy

And give Dod another gill!

The folly was built in 1817 with stone benches and a table inside. A place to break bread and watch the shadows fall down the hill as they ran to pastures new.

Some say John Gaskell built the folly called White Nancy to commemorate the British victory at the battle of Waterloo.

Some say it was named after a great horse with white snowflake markings on his face that transported the materials to the top of the hill where Nancy would stand.

But, dear reader, I think we all know better. White Nancy, as white as milk and similarly shaped like a teet on an udder is surely a nod to a beautiful milkmaid from the Happy Valley.

And from that day to this, White Nancy is a landmark that shows strength over adversity, light over darkness, and love over everything.

 

Whimzeez and Reveals

August 4, 2021 5:09pm Published by Jules Smith in Whimsy On A Wednesday 19 Comments

It’s Whimsy On A Wednesday!

Dear readers, writers, bloggers, lovers, haters, rapscallions, friends, Romans and countrymen.

It’s been a long while since we all had some Whimzeez On A Wednesdeez, innit?

Well, that’s because I’ve used my latest time in lockdown prison trying to be proactive rather than reactive. Which, many will say, is a nice change. But who cares about the many?

I promise that fun and frolicks and all manner of insanity will be coming soon, especially now the pubs are open and you don’t have to drink through a mask. 

Aside from the fun tales I have coming to this blog just for you, here’s a shameless plug of what’s been going on in the creative world of the JS empire. Please feel free to arise from your seat and applaud. And get your cash ready.

WINNING WITH WORDS

OUT NOW

Winning With Words brings together the key 100 words your child needs to learn to read. Studies have shown that these 100 words are commonplace within literature and will help your child have a good basis for reading books across the board. 

Each key word is shown in a flashcard style with a bright, colourful background and simple imagery to maintain attention. 

All words are individually placed within a sentence to help your child understand context and structure as they move on to understand how each word can be used.

Extensive research has shown that learning these 100 key words will help your child master their reading skills and go on to select books of their choice and fuel an appetite for reading.

Available on Amazon Kindle and Apple books.

Make – A- Monstory

My latest and greatest invention – Make- A -Monstory

Learning To Read The Monster Fun Way!

This put together rhyming story and game is due for release in the next few weeks. Never has there been such a fantastic and fun way to get children reading without it being a chore! Tried and tested in the marketplace pre-launch by mums, playgroups, teachers, nursery schools, and most importantly, children, with fantastic reviews and feedback!  Watch this monster space!

Red Mist

Due for pre-order in the next few weeks, Red Mist is a science-fiction novel brought to you by two engaging authors from either side of the pond. America meets UK with author Larry B. Lambert who lives in the midst of the largest ponderosa pine forest in the world. Having written of espionage, narcoterrorism, Wall Street, and planned political kidnapping! 

And

Jules Smith from the UK, who will sometimes make you laugh to the point of breathlessness and then reduce you to a sobbing wreck in the very next sentence because she likes to probe where others don’t.  You may be many things when you read her work – excited, happy, terrified, nervous, sad, or just plain amazed, but you will never be bored.

This is is their first adventure into science fiction – or is it science fact?  It’s so difficult these days to be sure.  You the reader can be the judge.  

Coming soon in paperback and ebook globally across all platforms. 

Watch this space…

 

 

Don’t Slash The Hand That Feeds You

June 9, 2021 1:57pm Published by Jules Smith in Whimsy On A Wednesday 15 Comments

 

Satirical Snapshots Bringing You Whimsy On A Wednesday!

I would have written this last week but that would have meant typing with one finger. 

The sleight of hand happened last Sunday which just so happened to be a bank holiday weekend.  Blessed with glorious sunshine and the promise of hope. The sound of birds chirping, children playing in gardens, lawns being mowed, and barbecues being prepared as the Great British Public eased into the re-opening of the country with a gin and tonic in each hand.

I was invited over with the hounds to an evening in the garden by family members to partake in fine wine and lasagne al fresco. Lovely. Be there by 6.30. 

I got myself trussed up, cos this was an event. I’d forgotten how to do that. Piecing clothing together suitable for sunny afternoons, fluffing hair and tending to eyelashes. The art of self-sensationalising seems like a lot of effort nowadays when you’ve only worn your jeans or leggings and put your hair in a bun for the last year.  Anyway, I managed to get through it. 

When One Door Opens…

So, I got my first mad wolfit on his lead to take to the truck because this is a one-at-a-time process since they weigh about 90lbs each and have that youthful exuberance that crazy pups have when they think they’re going somewhere exciting. No matter how much training you’ve done, the wilful wolfit is easily distracted by adventure. I opened the middle door from my kitchen to the hallway and my Tyrannosaurus-Tex took off like a lunatic taking my arm with him. My hand caught on the door with a bang and it hurt like hell. You know when you bang something really hard and it makes you feel sick as the pain sears through you? Like that.

“What a silly doggy you are!” I said. He must have heard something entirely different and a lot louder as he shot under the table to hide from me. 

“Why is there blood everywhere?”

Turns out my hand caught on the metal door plate with an inch of metal sticking out from the architrave which caught my forefinger and knuckle. I ran to get kitchen towel because that’s all I could think of and yanked the first-aid kit out. I found some sort of tape and wadding and patched it up. Bloody hurt, it did. Still, fun times beckoned so I continued to get the pack in the truck which involves picking one of them up because jumping onto a tailgate is too difficult. Sheesh!

Party Pooper

I stopped off at a friends house to collect something and then went on to the house of wine and pasta. The hounds ran around the garden whilst I cooed over the beautiful sweet-pea flowers that were growing there and how magnificent the garden was looking. British people do that sort of thing.

“Sorry I’m a bit late, I hurt my hand.”

“Would you like me to have a look and clean it up? Maybe get a better plaster on it?”

“OK.”

“Ummm. I think you need to go to the hospital. That needs stitches.”

I didn’t look. I find looking at wounds just promotes hysteria. “It’ll be alright.”

“Err, no. Take her to the hospital now, please.”

“Bloody hell! It’s a bank holiday, it’ll be snided!”

I got driven to the walk-in centre which is like a satellite version of the main A and E. I gave my information and the cause of the accident and got told to wait. The current waiting time was 4 hours. 

That’d be the bank holiday fun up the spout then. 

NHS Keithwittery and the Dropped Bollock

I got called in by a triage nurse first to assess the damage. 

“Jesus, that’s nasty. I can see your knuckle. Can you call Dr Jonathon to have a look at this as this needs some stitching,” she said to the other nurse.

How to instil fear. 

I had to have X-rays to make sure I hadn’t chipped the bone. Eww. I had to wait for these to be analysed by the main hospital before any stitching up could take place so I was bandaged up with a wet cloth and put back in the waiting area.  As I was sitting there, bored out of my mind, more people were coming through to the main desk with ailments. The receptionist was pure evil and definitely not a people person. To be honest, I can’t say I blamed her.  A chap came hobbling through and went up to her desk.

“I have a bit of an issue…”

“NAME”

He gave his name.

“ADDRESS”

“WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?”

“Well, it’s a bit of a sensitive one…”

“PROBLEM. WHAT IS IT?”

The poor chap looked around sheepishly, a little ruddy in the face. “I have a swollen testicle.”

Ha! That took my mind off my knuckle dusting. I never did find out what happened to him. He disappeared into a room and was never seen again. Poor sod.

Shortly after that, a nurse came up to me looking all flustered. “Your X-rays are fine and we really need to get you stitched as soon as possible but we have a bit of a problem…”

“Oh?”

“We can’t find the key to the special cupboard. We call it special, it’s the suture cupboard. We’ve just sent a message out to all staff.”

After half an hour of drama it turned out that some twollop called Keith had gone home with the key. 

“I’ll take a look at it anyway,” she said. “Come through. Someone’s trying to prize the cupboard open but it’s not looking good.”

I went off to her medical room and she shook her head at my hand. “I’m sorry, this really needs proper sutures so you’ll have to go off to the main hospital and get stitched there.”

“No. Please, no. I’ve had enough. Can’t you just glue it up?”

“Hmmm. No. It won’t hold and could get infected.”

“Please! PLEEEEEEEASE don’t make me go there. I’ll take the risk. Just put loads on.”

“I’ll give it a try but if it doesn’t work you’re going to have to go.”

A nurse and a doctor set about glueing and sticking about 20 steri-strips to my wound. Then they needed to go and find some inadine pads. “Keep your hand up here and don’t move.” 

When they came back I’d managed to glue my thumb to my finger which they weren’t too happy about as they had to get some solution to prize my digits apart before carrying on. After the inadine pad, a wad over the top, a padded square and a bandage followed.

“I think we need to put it in a sling. You really cannot move this and it must stay elevated.”

“If you give me a sling I’ll just take it off. I don’t like them. I’ll be good, I promise.”

“If you’re not you’ll open it up and then you’ve got problems. No driving, no getting it wet, no moving. No life,  no fun, no drugs, no wine, it’s dark…

Go back to your GP in 5 days to get it checked and re-dressed. Do you want any pain relief?”

“Nah. I’m gonna go and have a glass of wine.”

On my return, the person who looked at my hand and made me go to the hospital was in a state of shock. They said that they had tried to remain calm in order to not make me panic but when they saw the wound it looked like my hand had been unzipped and revealed a juicy pizza. They are still having flashbacks. 

For ten whole days I have behaved. I’ve had it re-dressed twice and now I’m down to a pad which I can remove tomorrow so long as I’m careful.

I’m going to have a wicked scar which I will tell everyone was caused by Lucifer or by playing with wolves.  There’s mileage in that.

 

Turning Japanese

May 12, 2021 11:27am Published by Jules Smith in Whimsy On A Wednesday 16 Comments

Halcyon

Satirical Snapshots Bringing You Whimsy On A Wednesday!

I’ve found that I’m fascinated by most things Japanese. There’s a simplicity and perfection to things that they do which is so alien to me that I find it captivating.  

Look how they make sushi. How beautifully perfect and precise is this bite-sized food? So far removed from shoving sausages in a pile of mash with beans. 

Amelioration

The girl who does folding up for a living, Marie Kondo, whom I have spoken of before with her magic art of tidying up is another shining example of this determinate conduct. You wouldn’t for one second think that folding stuff up would make you a fortune but even I got hooked into that one. It’s the delicate, precise manner that she organises and appreciates her belongings from start to finish. Her immaculate appearance, her measured delivery, how she can fold a t-shirt into a perfect little bundle of loveliness leaves me astonished. 

Just. So. Orderly.

Vacuole

And refined.  

Speculation

Even Japanese wrapping. This is so pretty you wouldn’t dare to open your gift, and let us not overlook the art of Origami where a tiny piece of paper can turn into a flock of birds travelling through a sunset over the ocean. 

We’re having a party. Bring me bunches of fresh pink sakura and some rice paper – I must make a million swans. This is how I imagine their barbecues going down with hanami and Sake.

Tea. I know about tea. But here in Blighty, there ain’t no Geisha girl delivering it and turning it into an artful event. That doesn’t work with PG Tips. 

Regnant

So, the other week I was on t’internet looking for Japanese paper because another thing I am obsessed with is beautiful papers. As usual, I got distracted and saw something called ‘Suminagashi’ which means floating ink. I was instantly hooked and spent the next few hours watching videos of Japanese masters and artists meditatively creating these visions of beauty. Obviously, I felt compelled to do it but decided to wait a few weeks and try and be a bit more Japanese minded rather than impetuous. I shall wait a while and let the idea settle, I told myself. Maybe the itch will go away and like all my other passing fancies, won’t end up in a crafting drawer full of things that are going to be my next new hobby and route to freedom. 

 After a week of torture, I realised that patience isn’t my forté.

Littoral

However, once at the art shop, I forced myself to buy cheap alternatives rather than expensive calligraphy brushes and marbling paints. I got started with a few acrylics, inks, a plastic tray, and some cheap brushes for kids. The art is in the process. 

Inception

I couldn’t wait to start. The table was cleared and I sat ready with paints and brushes being still and calm. That lasted a nano-second when one of my wolfits tried to drink the bloody water. Hounds removed, I sat again and took a deep, meaningful breath. The water must be still or the ink goes all over the place due to ripples. 

Ikebena

I tucked my chair in a little more because I couldn’t reach the tray with enough comfort and ease to commence the very methodical process. Nudged the sodding table and caused a tidal activity in the tray. 

And breathe. 

Eventually, the water settled and I got ready to commence my first masterpiece. One brush loaded with soapy water and one with ink, ready to dip alternately and created hundreds of concentric circles floating perfectly on top of the water. 

And this is what happened.

Dip

Sink

‘Kin ‘ell

Dip

Sink

Fail

Dip more gently

Sink

This is stupid

Dip

Sink

I HATE THE JAPANESE

Empyrean

I could not make this work at all. I was incensed. This so-called meditative practice had me raging and atrocious. Patience is a virtue of the bored!

I immediately went online to find out why it wasn’t working. and found that my water needed thickening.  Starch being one of the options, some woman said. Excellent. I have liquid starch in my laundry cupboard. I used it once many years ago to make canvas flowers! I set up my water tray again and calmed myself. 

Dip

 BIG FAT LIAR.

I went back online and ordered a seaweed component that thickens water for next day delivery and went to make Cheddar and Marmite dough balls instead. Marmite never lets you down. 

The next day I snatched the thickening agent from the delivery man and read the instructions. 

‘Leave for 6-8 hours before using’ 

What? I hate this hobby. 

Fervor

The day after I tried again with my new solution and watched as the paint spread beautifully across the water. Mesmerising. It took me several attempts to get it right and quite a few hissy fits but now I’m well on my way to mastering this technique as you can see through this blog post. I have pretentiously named each print for amusement.

Eolith

If Jackson Pollock created these they’d sell for millions. I’m happy to accept a cool 250K.

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