Yesterday I went shopping in town. Not a big town, a town not a city. I live in a rural area on the outskirts of a village and most of my day-to-day shopping – bread and butter, tins of beans and bags of potatoes and veg is usually done in the small market town two miles down the road.
Yesterday I went into a larger town and only after I’d done it did I realise just what to experience would be like. I’d forgotten what it feels like to be surrounded by people you don’t know. For various reasons I’d not been far outside my local area – I suppose what some people would call my “comfort zone” for quite a while.
I’d forgotten what the larger department stores were like and just how difficult they could be to navigate. One thing that struck me and that now really worries me is that there is no indication of the nearest exit. When I’ve been in a public place -anything from a small village hall to a sports arena or a theatre one of the first things an organiser does is point out the emergency exits and tell you what to do and where to go if a fire alarm sounds. I could see no evidence of this in the department stores I visited. Yes, there were signs, plenty of them, but they only told me where the food hall, the lingerie department, the restaurant, the children’s wear etc were located. Nothing as far as I could see indicated which way was OUT.
If the fire alarm had sounded I would have been totally lost and wandering futilely round the different departments. We are told not to use the lifts in a fire. I don’t know if the same applies to the escalators – do they get automatically switched off when the alarm goes? Do customers have to find stairs to escape and what about those, like myself at the moment, who can’t walk fast or run down a flight of stairs?
I can only hope that if the stores had to be cleared members of staff would run round shouting “This way…this way out…follow me!” and lead the customers to safety. Even then, would I be able to fight my way out or would I be mown down by crowds of shoppers behaving worse than they do on the first day of the January sales?
“Lie down there, Judy. Good dog. What’s the matter? Why are you growling like that? Is it the cars across the road? One of them is a police car. I wonder what’s the matter? Has someone had an accident? Or a robbery? There’s not much anyone could steal from the poor old Mrs Pauley. She looks so frail and sad. I don’t think I’ve seen her smile since Mr Pauley died. A shame none of their sons live nearer. They all came for their dad’s funeral and stayed for a couple of days and then rushed off. Said they’d got things to do. One of ‘em has a shop and another runs a business making some sort of farm machinery, I think. But they might’ve stayed a bit longer with their mum or taken her to stay with them. You’d do that, wouldn’t you Judy if someone was left on their own, you’d go and help them.
Whatever is happening across the road? I’ve seen that man before. I can’t think where? Yes, I know. he owns most of the houses on that side of the street. He looks a fat cat – at least that’s what Jamie the youngest of the Pauley boys called him. Good name, suit him down to the ground. That’s right, Judy, you growl at him. He deserves it.
No! I can’t believe it. They’re turning Mrs Pauley out. She’s standing there in the garden with just a suitcase. She’s crying. She cried at the funeral but this is different. I suppose it must be because she can’t pay the rent. Oh, this is awful, isn’t it, Judy. Can’t someone do something? Look there’s Mrs Parker. Will she help Mrs Pauley? She’s talking to her, patting her arm. Now they’re going off together to Mrs Parker’s house.”
Childhood consolation after falls
A kiss better and a piece of chocolate
Made all right with the world.
The hard solid chunk, a lick, another lick
The chocolate melts in the mouth
The smoothness, a taste I will never forget.
Even now chocolate is a remedy for things gone wrong.
Sit down, have a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit
And after all life doesn’t seem so bad.
I can see why chocolate is the medicine of choice
In the world of Harry Potter.
Brown chocolate, white chocolate,
Dark chocolate light chocolate,
Mars bars, thoughts of planets, of stars.
Hollow Easter eggs with chocolates hidden inside,
Slices of chocolate oranges, chocolate bunnies and buttons
Fair Trade Divine chocolate makes you feel good,
Doing your bit for the world’s cocoa farmers
In the midst of chocolate indulgence.
My Muse is Dead
I think she’s dead
She’s gone away
I’m lost today
No joy, exhilaration
Just a blank
A total dearth of imagination.
What can I do?
I’m asking YOU!
The Ballad of Savick Brook
A fair young lass in Lancaster
She bought herself a boat
To sail around the waterways
A jolly life afloat.
The boat was long and narrow
A sleek and slender craft
She aimed to sail from Lancaster
To Preston – she weren’t daft.
She aimed to go past Preston
And cross the Ribble Link
Via River Douglas, Savick Brook.
What if her boat should sink?
She said “I never think of that
I trust my engine’s power
To get me where I need to be.”
Then, at the crucial hour:
The engine started coughing
And spluttering as well.
More fuel would not cure it
The damsel cried “Oh Hell!”
And other choice expressions
Not fit for gentle ears.
If she had been a weepy type
There’d been a flood of tears!
What can she do? Where can she turn?
“Oh help, Mayday,” she cried.
Then she beheld a shapely form
A-swimming on the tide.
“What is this and who are you?”
She asked the creature strange.
“The River God of Douglas
You’ve come within my range.”
“I’ll come aboard and fix your boat
I’m good with engines me,
I was a Royal Engineer
Before I went to sea.”
He climbed aboard all dripping wet
“Let’s see what’s up.” he said.
He tinkered with the engine…and
It was no longer dead.
“Oh thank you.” cried the maiden fair,
“What can I do to show
My gratitute for what you’ve done?”
The God replied “I know..”
“Take me to the nearest pub
There’s one not far from here
Buy me a plate of fish and chips
And several pints of beer.”
Notes: some local references but not many. Once I got going the ballad took over!
The Ribble link allows boats from the Lancaster canal to get to the main canal system via the River Douglas.
This really needs pictures but haven’t time to search for them.
All faces bear traces
Of places they have been
And things they have seen.
Baby face round, smooth
Unmarked, beautifully blank
Moves on to childface smiling
Screwed up, laughing and crying
By turns as he learns
To face the changes of fate
That come sooner or late
By middle age a face shows
Experience and what it knows
Things done, things not done
Paths once taken, tasks begun
When old age comes the face
Is marked by time but yet
There is a certain grace
In lines and wrinkles don’t forget
Faces are the story we read to the world.
from random words on fridge magnets
mother of some thousand moons
juice easy, weak,
hot repulsive scream