Umbrollia Revisited #writephoto

Umbrollia was unique in nature having developed a wormhole between it and its neighbouring parallel universe, through which lonely and lost brollies and umbrellas and other misplaced weather protectors passed in the hope of finding a more caring environment where they would be remembered even though it had turned out sunny. And generally those abandoned parasols and parapluies contented themselves with their new situation which, while not heavily peopled with caring users at least had eradicated all windowless lost property offices and dank cloakrooms. No spring loaded rain protector languished for long in the low gravity environment of Umbrollia but spent happy days auditioning for remakes of Mary Poppins and Singing in the Rain with robotic actors taking the human roles or enjoying a spin class on a windy beach where the experts turned themselves inside out and back again to the astonishment of the recently arrived.

One day, when the forecast squalls had the world’s protective apparatus heading for the outdoors, a frisson of excitement rippled through the tight-furled tripled-tipped populous. Word had it that an owner had been seen on the hillside, striding around and muttering about its much loved and lost rainshade. Every time this happened hope soared in the artificially canopied crowds – could it be that their old owner cared so much that they had made the effort to cross to the next universe in defiance of all natural laws to look for their trusty coverage? Older members of Umbrollia’s elite worried he might be some sort of opportunistic trickster, intent on grooming the more vulnerable members of Umbrollia’s community with a view to cruelly selling them a vision of caring new owners and considerate drying facilities only to sell them on the cheap to the indifferent if inadequately prepared?

After a lot of tooing and froing and a fair bit of opening and closing a delegation of the most robust brollies and bumbershoots, parasols and sunshades was dispatched to inquire of the man’s intentions. Umbrellas are naturally silent so the man didn’t see them until he was surrounded. To the watching audience he looked startled when he saw what he had approached him.

The leading brolly opened slowly and spoke. It got as far as ‘good morning’ when the man lost all definition as the life drained out of him, the shock of animated weather guards being too much for him to take.

The lead brolly looked at the sunshade representative. ‘Well?’

The sunshade looked at the overcast sky and shrugged. ‘Looks like he’s become a shadow of his old self. He won’t be needing us.’

The brolly nodded. ‘Shame.’

The parasols watched the brollies go. ‘Why do they always put a dampener on things?’

‘It’s the nature of the beast. Fancy a quick twirl?’

‘Why not?’

This was written in response to Sue Vincent’s #writephoto prompt

Posted in #writephoto, miscellany | Tagged , , , | 18 Comments

And So To Bed…

To anyone who spends time here, I’ve decided that this August my daily blogging will become spasmodic. A change is as good as a rest they say. I’ll still do the odd prompt, I’m sure, and maybe the occasional review and pics of Dog and the garden.

But I have a wedding to enjoy and some real Father of the Fianced experiences to garner and convert into a set of posts. And I have sooooo many bookish things I want to do…

… thus, for August it’s goodbye from me…


goodbye from him…

For now. TTFN

Posted in Blogging | Tagged , , | 31 Comments

Corona: Part Thirteen

Part Thirteen

Christopher checked his small bag. Water, the cup that Janice had used, the transfer paper. Check. As he turned out of the cul-de-sac where he lived he pulled up the hood on his anorak. Fifty yards ahead he turned into the narrow path between numbers 55 and 57 and headed quickly away from the road. When he was sure no one was able to see him from either direction, he bent and lifted the fence panel. To anyone passing it looked like a normal panel but this one hinged inwards. Quickly he stepped off the path and onto the grass. The panel swung back and clicked in place. Without wasting time but in the knowledge no one could overlook him he crossed the over grown garden of Mrs Tomlins, a woman he had befriended and whose garden had proved a perfect access to the allotment.

It was more awkward, scaling the allotment fence at the back of her garden but the old hawthorns provided enough of a barrier. Once through those the backdoor of his shed could be reached in a step. No one had yet seen him. If they did, all he would do is shake his fly and look sheepish. The male need to pee was an easy excuse to be skulking in some bushes.

“Ok?” The other man looked up as Christopher entered.

“Sweet as the proverbial. Here you go.” He held out the bag. “One perfect set of prints.

“She didn’t notice the oil on the cup?”

“Scared shitless.” Christopher laughed. “Can you sort it?”

The other man looked up and nodded. “Sure. Where will you leave the syringe?”

“In my shed. I’ll tell the notice inspector it appeared. It’ll be such an obvious plant but I don’t think she’s the sharpest knife in the drawer so the police won’t be surprised.” Christopher looked at the table where a small book ‘The Law and Practice of Wills and Estates’ sat. “How soon before we can challenge the Will?”

“Soon as she’s charged. They’ll not let her inherit our money from Roger if she killed him. It’ll come to you,” the man smiled, “us.”

Christopher returned the smile and bent to kiss his brother.

The End

PS. You may have questions and some i can answer and some i can’t like all mysteries. Do ask.

Posted in short story | Tagged , , | 23 Comments

Corona: Part Twelve

Part Twelve

Janice sat at her kitchen table. She felt like a zombie having had little to no sleep wondering what Thorne was going to do with her. Eventually a call came asking her to come to the station. Her solicitor accompanied her and was equally if not quite so volubly skeptical of Janice’s explanation. Thorne was accompanied by a uniformed female officer called Cilla who hardly looked up and took copious notes even through the recording machinery ran throughout. She tried once again to explain everything that had happened since she had visited the hotel in Margate but it sounded more and more unlikely, even to her ears.

Thorne sat back in his chair, barely moving throughout her monologue. When it was clear she had finished he leant forward. “Christopher told the truth about his arm. In so far as the current treatment is concerned but the hospital that originally treated him has shut and the records from that time aren’t available. His specialist confirms the approximate age of the injury however so we have no reason to disbelieve the timing.” He looked up as a uniformed constable knocked and came in with coffee. “It also appears true that he uses Watson but he hasn’t applied for any sort of official change and all his official records are in the name of Scrutt. He has lived at that address for fifteen years and the neighbours confirm he is a quiet neighbour if a little obsessive.”

“The neighbour, the woman had some sort of relationship with him.”

“Indeed, so they both said but it’s not recent, maybe two years ago. He’s not been known to have any sort of,” Thorne coughed, “companion. The male neighbour says he was recently visited by an elderly woman but he didn’t know who. She was dropped off and picked up by a man fitting Roger’s description. So far as we can his story fits.”

“What about the man in the typewriter shop?”

“He says he remembers the machine more than the man who bought it. He wasn’t especially helpful.” Thorne paused. When Janice said no more, he shifted a file from the bottom of the heap he had brought with him. “Roger’s body, as you know, was exhumed last week. The toxicology tests have been done.” He looked away, at a stain on the wall behind Janice’s head. “There are traces of adrenaline in quantities that suggest he was injected. This coupled with the known medical issues he had suggest he was deliberately killed.”

Janice felt a tear slip down her cheek. Killed? Surely not? He couldn’t have been.

The inspector looked at her. “As you recall we took your computer as part of our investigations. It appears someone used it to determine what was the best way to administer adrenaline. Can you explain that?”

“No. No I can’t?”

“Who had access to the computer?”

“Roger and me. And the cleaner I suppose.”

Thorne nodded. “Obviously this is currently circumstantial but can you see the way it is pointing?”

“You think I killed him? Why?”

Thorne shrugged. “There might be any number of reasons.”

Janice let her head droop. Her solicitor put a hand in her shoulder. She said, “What are you intending to do with my client?”

“For now, nothing. We will continue to garner evidence. We would like her to voluntarily surrender her passport and agree to staying in the neighbourhood but she is free to go.”

Janice nodded. She knew she could no more go anywhere currently as kill anyone. What was happening to her?

Posted in short story | Tagged , , | 18 Comments

Life, Times, Rants #grumble #whinge

We do live in some interesting times in the UK, with a self-confessed reincarnated olive as our premier and with the Transylvanian Member for the eighteenth century in charge of the House of Commons and who has issued his own style guide for how his staff should craft their parchments.

Part of said style guide offered examples of common words that should not be used:

  • very
  • due to
  • unacceptable
  • equal
  • yourself
  • lot
  • got
  • speculate
  • meet with
  • ascertain
  • and disappointment

Now, it has to be admitted that the Supercilious Satan for North Somerset was being both provocative and promoting his own Antiquarian credentials but it did open the idea that we should all have a list of words/grammar rules/pet hates we want to see banned. To kick this off, here are the ones that are the lexicographical fingers down the blackboard for me:

  • moist
  • split infinitives
  • ‘for free’
  • the random insertion of ‘like’ in sentences
  • ‘back in the day’
  • ‘early doors’
  • ‘as of now’
  • runny custard
  • people doing their hair and make up on public transport
  • lifts that start at 1 and not G
  • someone who includes my christian name when they are only talking to me as in ‘well, Geoff…’
  • ‘like a polished turd’
  • the neutralising of words for their perceived gender bias e.g. manhole
  • ‘safe spaces’ in the context of debating at universities
  • marshmallows
  • anyone who phones me when I’m eating
  • rain delays at the cricket
  • people who call me ‘mate’
  • anyone who believes in telling the complete truth in all situations
  • heavily-tinted car windows
  • shops/cafes/restaurants that tell me they’d love to allow Dog into their misbegotten emporium but it’s against the law…IT IS NOT!

I think I may have gone off topic slightly. But then so did the Blanched Bigot – please don’t think I have anything against JR-M apart from all his appalling opinions on issues such as gay rights and abortion amongst others. Enough. Here’s an image or three from the garden. If Hell is approaching in its handcart as it does rather feel, then at least I have some blossoms to enjoy…

Posted in thought piece | Tagged , , , | 46 Comments

Jobs For The Boys And Bats #writephoto #flashfiction

‘Mr Acula, can I….?’



‘It’s Doctor Acula.’

‘Oh? Right. Doctor of what?’

‘Does it matter?’

‘No I suppose not. I’m just curious…’


‘Oh, so why…?’

‘Why have I applied for this job?’

‘Well, yes. I understand the medical side might attract you, but it’s a little below your…’

‘I enjoy working nights.’

‘Yes, your CV says that. It’s unusual, what you put.’

‘Is it?’

‘Will not work days. Most people aren’t so prescriptive.’

‘My family are committed nocturnals. Not that I’m not flexible.’

‘Oh? Good.’

‘Yes, I’m happy with sunsets and the occasional sunrise. Oh and eclipses. I’m good with eclipses.’

‘Good to know. Not that we’ve many of those to worry us. Okay, can you explain what particular skills you’ll bring to the role as dental hygienist?’

‘I have an interest in teeth, perfect teeth.’

‘Are there such things? I mean whenever does one see perfection in… Oh yes well they are impressive. And so erm, prominent?’

‘Yes well I’ve been complimented on my teeth by many people.’


‘Oh yes. You’d be amazed the number of people, when they first see my teeth, they become very excited. “My god, look at your teeth!” That kind of thing.’

‘No, that doesn’t surprise me at all. Any other skills?’

‘Well, clearly I’m good with blood. I relish it, in truth so no silly fainting.’


‘And I can provide a unique anaesthetic option for those scared of needles.’


‘Yes. I just smile and… There you go, exactly.’

‘Gosh, Yes, well, that was a surprise. Quite overpowering. I’ll make a note of your application. Can I just check how we should address you? Do you have a first name?’

‘Just stick with Acula. Doctor Acula. But most people run it together. Sort of cutesy nickname, I suppose. Maybe that would work best.’

‘Yes that sounds a good idea. What should I put?’

‘Dr. Acula. Now it looks like the sunset is nearly done – really rather fine, isn’t it? I must fly. Busy busy. You know how it is. Places to go, people to see, blood to drink…

This was written in response to the latest #writephoto prompt here


Posted in #writephoto, creative writing, flash fiction, miscellany, prompt | Tagged , , , | 37 Comments

Corona: part eleven #shortstory #storyininstalments

Part Eleven

Christopher continued. “I’ve thought about it a lot. I don’t think he meant to hurt me quite so badly but when he confronted me and I confirmed the truth, the chainsaw was the nearest tool and he had completely lost it. It was dressed up as an accident and I knew it would kill mother if she knew the truth so I went along with it. The hospital wanted to know if the arm had been saved but we both said it had gone in with the pigs and been eaten. It looks like the old man must have kept it. Sick sod.”

Thorne rubbed his face and looked at the constable next to him. “We will need to verify this. Do you remember the hospital?”

Christopher gave him the details and the date. “You said it was in a pit in the garden? I wonder why he buried it there.”

“The pit also contained some other items that were put in later.”

“Really? Such as?”

Thorne hesitated then said, “An old Corona typewriter and a letter addressed to Mrs Scrutt here. We have no explanation why.”

“No well, that would be curious, wouldn’t it? I mean…”

Janice couldn’t stop herself. “You bought one. A typewriter. From the shop in town.” She looked at the Inspector. “That’s how I found Christopher. Through the shop.”

Christopher looked like he was trying to recall something. “I did buy a typewriter. An old corona. A match for the one my father had. I had this idea of writing down a family history and giving it to him, sort of shame him maybe. It appealed to me, the idea of using the same machine as he used and the man in that shop knew the exact model, when I showed him a photo of the old man with it?”

“You made me sit at it and get my prints on it!”

Christopher blinked and then frowned briefly. He turned to the inspector. “Maybe I should explain why my father went for me? I’m sure you want to know.”


“My brother left home six months before me. We were not just brothers but lovers, Inspector. As you might imagine my father wasn’t pleased. Colin knew it was wrong and thought the only way to stop it and deal with the guilt was to leave. I didn’t see it like that. I understand society doesn’t approve but…” He trailed off then rallied. “I think father wanted to put all the blame on me. I forced Colin, I was the cause of his distress and why he left, I wanted to shame the family. After the attack I understood I couldn’t say and I think it suited him and therefore the rest of the family to say we had fallen out for unspecified reasons and we’d just left. I was pleased, after I’d gone that I got out when I did. If I had stayed I think he might have killed me or me him.”

“And Roger knew about this?”

“At the time, no. He was still a teenager but I expect father told him some version of the truth. When he found me again he wouldn’t say what he’d been told though he made it sound as if it was the fact I was gay which was the problem.”

Thorne nodded. “And you know nothing of the pit and the arm and Roger’s death?”

“No Inspector, why would I? Once father was dead I was happy to see mother – she was old and frail and not in a good place mentally – but I’ve long since moved on.”

“And the typewriter? Do you still have it?”

“I gave it to Roger.”

“You what?” Janice exploded. “You can’t have done.”

Christopher shook his head. “Why not? I had it out when he brought mother and when she saw it she was delighted. She asked if it was father’s – his had gone missing long since she said – and when I told her I’d found it in this shop, she asked if I could try and get her a copy too so she could type her letters on it. She was an inveterate correspondent. I told her to take the one I’d bought and she was delighted. Roger said he’d get it serviced – the letter ‘p’ was rather inclined to stick. That was the last I saw of it.”

Thorne looked at Janice, waited for her to speak.

“I’ve never seen it, Inspector. As I said there was one like it in the attic at my mother in law’s house.” She felt ill.

Thorne sighed, “I think we might leave it there. Mrs Scrutt could we have a few words, please? Mr Watson, thank you for your help. We may need to talk again.”

“Of course.” He showed them out.

Standing on the street Thorne looked livid. “What are you doing here? What’s going on?”

Janice felt exhausted. “I thought if I could maybe find out who had made me sit at that typewriter and get my prints on it, at the fair Roger brought me to. If I got a name or something I was going to tell you, but the hotel where it was held sent me to the shop and they remembered him buying an old corona so I came to see his house and…”


She fought back tears. “I don’t know. I just wanted to see him, to check if he really was Christopher. He was using that other name so I couldn’t be sure.” She wiped her face. “He was away but his neighbour said they were close and she had a key and needed someone to feed his cat as she was off too.”

Thorne held up a hand. “Are you listening to yourself? Do you really expect me…?”

“Speak to her! To George the man who lives there,” she waved at the house on the other side. “He’ll confirm I was to feed the cat.”

“I’m not interested in how you got inside his house, but why? Why not call me? You must realise what this looks like.”

“What do you mean?”

“So far Mr Scrutt or Watson is telling a plausible if awful story of abuse, of being driven away. Your husband seems to have helped perpetuate that situation. Whereas your version always seems to be far-fetched. I’m wondering if you aren’t trying to frame him in some way, maybe for the death of your husband. What did he tell you about Christopher and Colin? Did he pass on his hatred of his brother?”

“Roger didn’t do hate. That wasn’t the sort of person he was.”

Thorne blew out a large breath. “We need to continue this at the station with your solicitor present.”

“Are you going to search his house? He has a shed that’s full of…”

“Stop. You were in his shed? Without his permission?”

“Yes, I just thought…”

“What? That if you go somewhere where there might be clues to something illegal, then your presence will only enhance the forensic evidence? You’ve contaminated the scene. Did you go into every room?”

She nodded dumbly.

“So whatever we might find there will always be the argument that you put it there?” He turned away and then back. “The autopsy on your husband will be done in two days. I suggest you go home and stay away from here and wait until I call you.”

Posted in fiction, miscellany, short story | Tagged , , | 8 Comments