Since it's Friday, I'll begin with my piece for the Loose Bloggers Consortium, a group of people united in a common word or phrase which each week, we get to write about. For my UK readers, it's like Loose Women, without the aggro. Check out the wonderful blogs of the other members:
- Conrad of www.levintel.com
- A Creative Writer in Progress
- Change of Heart Stress Solutions
- gaelikaa's Diary
- I truly am dumber than Einstein
- Magpie 11
- Ramana's Musings
- The Silver Fox Whispers
The words 'a journey' transport my mind straight to the Emerson, Lake and Palmer song The Sage:
I carry the dust of a journey
that cannot be shaken away
It lives deep within me
for I breathed it every day
When I was a little girl, I always wanted to go on a magical journey; I was sure I had pirate blood and adventure is what I sought....arrr!. I loved to read and the story books, with all their bright colours and special people, always seemed to be "just over the hill and far away"; that appealed to me more than anyone could ever know. I longed to travel there, to be in the sunshine with gold paths, chocolate waterfalls, blue skies and women dressed in brightly coloured dresses, the children all blonde curls and friendly eyes.
I thought about it for a long time, wished it to happen but it never did. So, at the tender age of seven, I decided to take the matter into my own hands. I would go on that journey and search for this mystical place that would make me so happy and when I got there, I'd send for my sisters.
I thought about what I should take. Any notions of a knotted, spotty hanky round a gnarled stick were dashed as no such thing could be found anyway. After a long debate with myself, I realised what I'd known all along: I couldn't take anything for fear of being caught. I didn't want to take any chances as this journey was going to be the chance of a lifetime.
I was very nervous from the moment I woke up. I gnawed at my nails, as if the answer was in there somehow and glanced furtively at my parents over the breakfast table, knowing that they'd be able to look into my little kidsized brain and know immediately what I had planned. Miraculously, they didn't seem to notice and after an eternity, I was on my way to school. I'd calculated that not turning up to school at all was sure to cause problems, what with having a twin sister in the same class so my best bet would be at 'playtime' in the afternoon; I'd be less likely to be missed.
I couldn't concentrate all day, with my lack of jumping on demand culminating in the belt from the teacher, just before playtime began. With my hands stinging and a ringing in my ear, I fought back the fat tears, determined to carry out my plan all the more. As the other kids played 'Charlie's Angels' or 'Starsky and Hutch', I felt a pang as I was wearing my Charlie's Angels Jumpsuit that day but I said no when they asked me to join in and they soon left me alone.
I hung out by the Victorian railings, waiting for my opportunity to jump over the broken part of the wall. I gnawed at my poor nails some more and, with my little heart thumping hard against my chest, I went for it. I jumped over the wall in a Starsky type leap and ran across the road only to find a car hurtling towards me. As my life flashed before my eyes, I froze, right there in the middle of the road, like the proverbial rabbit caught in the headlights and the driver pushed on his brakes as hard as he could. That moment went on for a lifetime and all I could do was stand there, watching my fate unfold.
He had stopped just at my feet and I could see through the windscreen that his eyes were blue. He got out the car, shaking and asked me if I was ok. I nodded mutely and then sprang to life, panicked incase I'd been seen; I looked back at the school but nobody had noticed. I ran onto the pavement and all the way down the hill until I reached the bottom. I stopped for a breath and, since I had a penny in my pocket, I nipped into the dairy for a penny Dainty to sustain me on my long, and by now, quite arduous journey.
I slowly opened the caramel outside the shop and popped it into my mouth, enjoying the sugary taste and gathering myself as I did so. I looked up towards the school but no-one was looking for me so I continued down the hill. I knew which general direction to take as I could see the place I was looking for...the top of a hill, a flash of green and knew that it was over that and not so far away from there.
I found myself on the main road and walked along it, surprised by how busy it was since all the children were at school. No-one paid me any attention and I walked by the butchers, the bakers and the cafe, all unnoticed. A black cloud appeared overhead and it started to rain a little. I shivered and felt a little scared as I was leaving familiar territory, territory which I'd only faced with my mum or dad. I was determined however and, with my arms wrapped round me for warmth, I kept going.
After a while, daydreams running round my head of what I would eat when I got there, I started to hear screaming. I could see some kind of commotion up ahead and my steps began to slow as I saw a crowd gather. A cry, like a wild animal came from within the group and I caught a glimpse of a man, naked from the waist up, with blood over his chest and down his face. I stood still, mouth agape, looking at him. He had another man in his grip and it was wailing, like one great beast and unlike anything I'd ever heard before. Suddenly, and only for a split second, the man looked at me and blinked, and went back to his fight.
I stood terrified, sure he was coming for me next. I turned on my heel and ran back the way I'd come, crying and scared. The rain was heavier now and I didn't have a jacket. I didn't stop running until I reached home. I flew in the door, sobbing, trying to explain to my dad what had happened and he gave me a hug, dried my hair with a towel and told me to calm down. When I'd had some hot tea, I explained in a quieter voice what had happened and he looked at me with an expression of amusement and bewilderment; "where is this magical kingdom?" he asked. I went to the window and pointed "over that hill and far away". "Hen" he replied "that's Possil....that's no magical kingdom, you don't want to go there!" and then he roared with laughter, as did I although I had no idea what we were laughing about.
On feeling ill, I've become accustomed and I'm dead sick of it. S'cuse the pun. I emailed my lovely friend Shona for some advice on superfoods and she sent me some wonderful advice which involved eggs, vitamin D and sunshine. Yesterday, a day wherein I wallowed, feeling sorry for myself and crying "why? why me???" in my head, Shona, like the angel she is, turned up with a bag of goodies designed to put a smile on my face and a filling in my tum.
There was fruit too but Fraser ran away with it.
Irish Soda Bread...delicious!
The pepper was sliced and, along with the tomatoes, roasted with sea salt, pepper, Parmesan shavings, sprinkling dried chillies, squeeze lemon juice and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Leftover soda bread for breakfast with Parma ham and scrambled eggs. Mmmmm!