Pushing Frontiers

for Fandango’s One Word Challenge(FOWC) of 31 October 2020, outlandish.

On Halloween, a brave desision,
Tattoist makes his first incision.
What prompted me to decorate?
Alas, I could no longer wait.

Appropriately, for the day,
A witch on broomstick, flaps away.
On her head she wears tall hat,
Behind her sits, of course, a cat.

The process starts. I tingle within,
The needle starts to tickle skin,
Tattooist waves his wand with verve,
As if to help me calm my nerses.

The tattoo done, this artist skilled,
I check my arm and sit there thrille.
Applies a bandage for protection,
“We have to guard against infection.”

Outside the shop, I’m thrilled inside,
I’m ten feet tall, I’m swelled with pride,
What fun I’ll have when to friends I’ll brandish,
My birthday present, so outlandish!

One of my friends posted on here about how, for their sixtieth(?) birthday, they got their very first tatoo. I smiled, but at the same time, I’m thinking “No, thanks.” Did you ever sleep with someone and, in the morning, look over at them and ///think “Oh my god, what have I done?” Well, that’s me and tattoos!


“Do you know where this restaurant is?”, asked Jane.

“Not a clue”, replied husband Frank.

It was not surprising. They had never visited this town before, and only chosen it now because it was a handy stopover on their way back from vacation. And because the hotel lay on the outskirts, they had not even been able to check their bearings when they had first arrived.

“I just saw it in the guidebook, it’s got three stars, so I thought it might be a nice treat for our last night away. We’d better give ourselves some time to find the place.”

“Make sure you bring the sat nav, so we can find it”, Jane responded.

They left their hotel a full thirty minutes before their table reservation. Just in case. Installing themselves in their car, Frank switched on the device and, while it fixed its location, he tapped in the restaurant’s address. As they left the hotel’s car park, opposite they noticed a small parade of shops, now all closed for the evening.

“You have reached your destination”, said a voice. As Frank looked up in surprise, one of the shop-fronts in front of him was transformed into light.

For no reason in particular. This is a true story which happened to us coming back from vacation one year.

The Long Arm of the Law

In days of Anne, this desolate inn,
Is where our story shall begin.
High upon deserted moor,
Strange goings-on attract the law.

Dispatched one day to apprehend,
‘Twas there the sheriff met his end.
Shot stone dead by smuggling gang,
If news gets out, they’d surely hang.

Buried there, beneath the trees,
The restless lawman yearns for peace.
And rumour has that each full moon,
Our ghost returns to guard saloon.

Today we’re knowing brighter times,
The inn still stands, no hint of past crimes.
And still today, it offers beds,
Where weary tourists rest their heads.

He pulls them in, our aged ghost,
A history which the inn can boast.
An apparition most bizarre,
A shadow standing at the bar.

All hocus pocus, we all might think,
As thirsty patrons sip their drink.
But tell me, if you have your doubt,
What force just blew this candle out

Queen Anne reigned in the UK between 1707 and 1714. I was thinking along the lines of Jamaica Inn, high on Bodmin Moor and made famous by Daphne du Maurier, when I wrote this, although it could be anywhere. The High Corner Inn is near to me and would fit the bill nicely.

Fandango’s One Word Challenge (30 October 2020)

for Fandango’s One Word Challenge(FOWC), insatiable.

Kindle (Fandango’s Flashback Friday)

Yay, it is Friday again, and Fandango has just published his Flashback Friday post. The idea is that he picks a post from this day in a previous year, to give newer readers a better insight into what makes him tick.

I have always liked that idea, so shall also post my own reminiscence. As much as anything, it reminds me of where I was, where I am now, and how far I have come. Hopefully, you will find it entertaining along the way.

Oh, and thank you to Jennifer at Paperkutzs for allowing me to use her image.

I found a gem of a post this week. The trouble is, unless you’re me, you might not appreciate it. October 2017 – about eighteen months post-stroke – and I was taking my first tentative steps back into reading, this with a Kindle.

Three years later, my reading has evolved to mostly audio. That’s just the easiest medium. It reinforces the availability of gadgetry, where a few years ago, it would have just been a case of “tough shit”.

According to the post, I’d picked up an old book about the Spanish Civil War, so here is a challenge for any American readers – go find out about it, and see if you can identify any similarities with the US, today. In particular, the polarisation of Spainish politics immediately prior.

Reading is a touchy subject for me because quite often, I see the view – sometimes even read in blog posts – that reading is the fount of all knowledge and wisdom. And, by extension, that anybody who doesn’t read is dumb. I wish there was a greater understanding of the difference between choose not to and is unable to. But that’s just me, on my high horse again.

Photo of an elderly man. He is sitting by a window, in front of a computer, reading from a pad of paper


When I was healthy I used to love to read. Favourite genres were biography, history and general non-fiction. As my eyesight got worse, and particularly since the stroke, abstaining has just become something I live with. Recently I have found some books that I want to read, so have been making an effort. so last … Continue reading “Kindles”

The Meeting

I wrote this as a brief continuation of my prompt response yesterday.

As Vicky Mahmood arrived at reception, Simon dashed out of his office to greet her.

“Vicky…”, he enthused, “how are you? How are Omar and the boys?” It sounded like they knew each other already. “This way”, commanded Simon, “I’ve booked the Board Room out. This is Anna.”. Anna stepped forward. She was getting used to Simon doing everything at a hundred miles per hour.

Smalltalk over, it was impressive to see how Simon chaired the meeting. “This is an appeal”, he started, “the first thing we must show is some procedural flaw when they made their decision. We can’t rake up detail again unless they buy that. Vicky?”

“Okay, it is a five-page judgement. Just one para goes into Salman’s background. I think we argue that they didn’t take account of his personal circumstances.”

“Right. Anna, read this judgement, top to bottom. Do that this afternoon, and let’s meet again at close of play and let me know what you think.” Simon was far from knowing all the answers but did seem to be incredibly good at knowing the right questions. Anna even managed to chip in with a few points, which seemed to be appreciated.

At meeting’s end, Simon closed. “Right, Vicky. Thanks for coming over. We’ll start work on this right away and I’ll touch base again tomorrow morning. He asked Anna to wait in the Board Room while he showed Vicky out. Perhaps her comments had not been so well-received after all?

Five minutes later, Simon returned. “Look”, he said, “I couldn’t say anything in front of Vicky, but this guy is just one of four cases I’m juggling now, so I really need your help on this.” Good. She wasn’t in trouble.

“As a partner here”, he continued, “the firm has been extremely impressed with you so far. We want you to take the next step.” It had not occurred to Anna yet that this was going to be a pep talk.

“As your boss”, he went on, “I see you perform out there every day”. He gestured toward the office. “I wouldn’t ask if I wasn’t 100% confident that you were up to it. I want you to be my eyes and ears on this. Get to know Salman Mohammed’s back story, get to know the judgement back to front, and let’s meet here again later to discuss next steps. We need to be on the ball here. Odds are it’ll all take weeks, but the Home Office have a track record of moving quickly on these cases, so we need to be ready and waiting.”

“Late night at the office”, thought Anna.

I wrote a background to these characters here:

A New Case

for Fandango’s One Word Challenge(FOWC) of 29 October 2020, pertinent.

“What do you have on at the moment?”, asked Simon, as Anna entered his office. Pausing, he continued, “Actually, it doesn’t matter. I need you on this case. How long will it take you to park everything else?”

“This is good”, thought Anna. The company were starting to trust her. Rather than just being the trainee, she was starting to bring something to the party. “I can mothball it all in a few hours, if needs be”. “Okay, pencil a meeting in from 1 to 2 o’clock so I can brief you properly, but I’ll just give you a quick heads-up now.” “1 to 2?”, thought Anna. That would be a quick lunch! But still, as the new girl, she would have to look keen. “Did you see the news last night?”, continued Simon. “Did you hear about a guy called Salman Mohammed?” The name rang a bell. Where had she heard that name before? Leaving her no time, Simon answered his own question. “Refugee. Syria. Mr Mohammed has just had his asylum application rejected. I’ve just had a call from the woman who represented him, Vicky Masood. She wants to launch an immediate appeal and wants our help. She’s sending the case file over shortly, but I should be able to get her here in person by 1. I’ll forward the file as soon as it arrives, but if you’ve time, think of any questions you’d like to ask her.”

Anna now recalled the name clearly. They had featured this chap’s case on the news for a few minutes last night. “Okay. Yeah, I heard of him. They even had a quick sound-byte from the Home Secretary on last night. Standard sabre-rattling. Keep these islands safe, and all that.”

“Right. Your job is going to be to investigate Mr Mohammed’s background. My gut feel is that this case will turn on the fact that it’s not safe for him to go home. It’s gonna be down to you to find a persuasive argument that’s pertinent to Mr Mohammed. I’ll get Vicky here for 1. Be ready.”

As Anna left the office, Simon was already checking his emails.

I wrote a background to these characters here:

Fandango’s One Word Challenge (28 October 2020)

for Fandango’s One Word Challenge(FOWC) of 28 October 2020, disseminate.