Dog Gone (To Pot)

Blogger Barb Taub had a dog/drug experience recently which triggered a buried memory. Now it’s bubbled to the surface, I think it is time I confessed

My name is Geoff and I drugged my dog

We need to go back to 2008 and a period when I regularly invited my team at work to a Sunday barbecue in the garden. It was intended to be a way of saying thanks and letting my colleagues’ other halves and children a chance to meet those people who they heard about, but in many cases never had the chance to meet and berate for keeping their loved ones away from the family bosom (other mammaries were available).

I would hire a small marquee/tent thing and tables and chairs, buy in a load of booze, twist a few arms to run a couple of barbecues and then, in time honoured fashion, let people get on with it. If I host a party I’ve learnt not to stress. If people come then it’sup to them to have a good time. My philosophy, so far as being a host is concerned, is best expressed thus..

This simple arrangement had become a feature over a few years, when my daughter, the Vet, hit her teens. She and I are similar in that we both love hosting and, well, let’s say I’m a bit of a soft touch. So when she asked if she could have a few friends round on the Saturday, to take advantage of the tent/marquee before the Sunday lunch party…

and I promise, daddy, we will clean up after…

I said yes, before the Textiliste had a chance to add a sprinkling of common sense.

That first year she had about 25 people and they had a good time, were well behaved and cleaned up. Well, apart from half a dozen cigarette butts under the apple tree. She was 14 and we had a word about the evils of tobacco.

it wasn’t me, daddy but I’ll make sure…

The next year the guest list grew north of thirty; no ciggies, but an empty half bottle of vodka nestled in a Camellia bush the morning after. Another clean up, another word about the demon drink and another promise

I told them but it’s difficult to stop someone bringing it, if they hide it. Next year…

The garden was tidy though, so, after discussion we agreed that we’d there could be another year.

This time, though, we would be vigilant. We were always present, but this time we’d circulate, keep a weathered eye on proceedings.

Factoid Number One: The Textiliste lost her sense of smell years ago.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Factoid Number Two: There was cricket on the TV.

We parents agreed on the following strategy. I’d watch the TV in the room above the garage, keeping an eye put across the garden; from time to time the Textiliste would wander around the ground floor and garden. It was sunny and warm; mid June and they were a lovely bunch of 15 and 16 year olds. I glanced out at the occasional laughter, the dancing on the lawn.

At 11.55 I sat up, collected the dog that had been snoozing at my feet and headed for the kitchen to unplug the music and send the little darlings home.

Factoid Number Three: the dog and I competed for the most intense sense of smell. I’d just opened the door to the kitchen when a cloud of what can only be described as condensed skunk hit me. I hadn’t been so enveloped in a pot storm since sitting through the Bob Marley Story at the Brixton Ritzy in April 1992. My brain gyroscoped into a fifth dimension while innocent faces turned to look at me.

Just then the Textiliste appeared from upstairs where she’d been working. ‘Is it a bit smokey?’ At least she detected smoke even if not the variety of Salvia.

I may have suggested to the watching teens that I, at least, was aware we were dealing with something greater than an excess of Silk Cuts this time as in ‘What the fuck have you been smoking?’

To cut a long story short, our downstairs loo had been hot-boxed and it was only when the party ended that the toilet door was opened wide enough to let out this decapitating miasma.

The Vet swore blind she knew nothing about it

I spent the whole party in the garden…

Which, to be fair, did seem to fit with my occasional checks.

By the time the last of the guests had gone, it was 1 am. We’d thrown all the windows opened but since the plaster seemed to have become impregnated with Rwandan ready rubbed it would need longer to get the smell out.

‘Let’s hit the sack’ said a discombobulated Textiliste, ‘and have another go in the morning.’

We locked up – this is London, you don’t leave doors and windows open – and set the alarm for 8. In the morning we threw open every aperture and scrubbed the walls and tiles. The drinka nd helpers appeared at 11; the guests at 12. It went well. No one noticed until…

You dog is so lovely

I smiled; Janan was Sri Lankan, a charmer.

I’m terrified of large black dogs but Blitz is so placid, so calm.

It had been so busy, I’d not noticed the dog; he’d not moved form his bed, his head rested in his paws, a short line of dribble linking floor to jaw. It was then it hit me. The old fella had passively smoked the equivalent of three days at Glastonbury; more potted than a Baltic of Shrimp.

I didn’t say. I just decided that, this year, we’d give the obstacle course at the Dulwich Dog Sow a miss; no point risking a random blood test.

And the Vet? We discussed the ramifications at dinner. She put up a spirited defence and asked her brother what he thought. The sage 19 year old took a moment before offering:

Ciggies, then booze, then dope… if I were you, parentals, I’d rent a condom machine next year; that way you’ll have covered all the options

Posted in dogs, Dulwich, families, humour, miscellany | Tagged , , , , | 30 Comments

A bit of blood, a bit of bother #microcosms

 

Another Day, Another Decapitation

‘What do we have, Waldron?’ Detective Inspector Plummet pulled on his latex gloves and peered at the body.

‘Same M.O. as the others, sir. Drowned. In his own blood.’

‘Usual calling card?’

‘Yes. Fourteen rubber ducks, floating in the gore.’

Plummet shook his head. ‘Nothing else? No clue why the ducks, I suppose?’

‘The profiler wonders if the perp is cockney?’

‘Cockney?’

‘Visual rhyming slang. Rubber Duck, F…’

‘Is that the best he can do?’ Plummet hadn’t ever felt so tired. ‘Any further success identifying the type of duck? They look very specific.’

‘It’s an anas, sir.’

‘An anus? You’re kidding me?’

‘Very drole, sir.’

Plummet looked at the scene: a public space, always busy and yet someone had managed to decapitate a body and create a pool with bloody bath toys in it. ‘This guy’s like some sort of apparition. It’s unreal.’

‘We wonder if that’s the message. No matter what we think, it has to be supernatural. Unsinkable rubber ducks. We’ll never prove it is anything else.’

Plummet picked up a duck and pulled out a penknife. He slide it into the plastic and pushed it into the liquid. Bubbles frothed at the side as it gradually sank. ‘Not so clever, is he?’

Waldron pointed at the blood. ‘Sir?’

The submerged duck had bobbed to the surface, a grin plastered over its face.

Plummet shook his head. ‘Geez. The perp is pure evil. What a way to get his rocks off.’

Waldron flicked through his notes. ‘I can help there, sir. The mutilation was effected with a four inch blade.’

‘Shut up, Waldron and get me something to drink that doesn’t clot.’

This week’s Microcosm prompt was to take the tile of a book in our TBR heap and use that as inspiration. I’m reading The Attack Of The Unsinkable Rubber Ducks by Christopher Brookmyre 

Posted in flash fiction, horror, microfiction, radio | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

Fade To Opaque #writephoto

Sue Vincent’s #writephoto this week is

‘Are you sure this is the best one?’

‘The light was good and I thought the composition…’

‘Yes, yes. That’s true. But…’

‘The sand was firm, the rocks just the right shade of dull…’

‘Sure. Yes, I don’t disagree that you’ve nailed the setting. No question…’

‘So why the long face?’

‘That’s the point.’

‘What is?’

‘No face.’

‘Yes there is.’

‘Well, I know there is but no one else will.’

‘Yes, but that’s not a reason…’

‘It is a reason…’

‘No, no, that’s wrong. It’s.. it’s transparentist.’

‘That’s not a word.’

‘It should be. If I was black, or ginger or blonde…’

‘Are you? I mean that’s the point, isn’t it?’

‘Why does it matter?’

‘Well, it doesn’t, of course…’

‘In fact, this is the best way to ensure that no unconscious bias can distort the judging. I’m the perfect example to prove the judging is completely fair.’

‘Yes, well, I can see how you might argue that but there’s just a slight problem…’

‘Which is?’

‘The invisible man can’t win Selfie of the Year…’

‘There you go, I told you it was biased.’

‘No it’s not.’

‘Yes it is. How do you know I’m a man?’

Posted in #writephoto, flash fiction, prompt | Tagged , , , | 29 Comments

Life In A Flash #review

It’s a bit grey, a little dank and Dog is already huffy that he’s not been offered a walk yet… but online it’s all twinkles and smiles because my anthology of flash fiction has received this sumptuous satin sheets-and-sweet-treats review via Colleen’s 2018 #Book #Reviews, “Life in a Flash,” by Author Geoff

Goodness what a lucky boy I am….

Posted in miscellany | 9 Comments

THE ANNUAL BLOGGERS BASH AWARDS – THAT VOTING MOMENT

In one sense I’m late to the party as a committee member posting this. In another it’s a reminder for those who need it to get voting; you don’t have long.

And in a third I wanted to delay to reinforce the buzz that accompanies the run up to the Bash and the announcement of the Awards’ winners.  Let me give you a taste of how that Buzz will be manifest. 

Last Year, after we closed the voting period we had a total number of votes, across all categories of over 

6500

This year the voting has been open for 3 days and we already have over

6300

So unless you guys stop voting with a screech that can be heard from space we will smash the record of last year.

(Editor’s note: of course, a group of willing volunteers is needed to count and verify each vote which it the reason why Sacha’s Mushrooms* are being readied as I write)…

And so the the reminder

VOTING IS NOW OPEN FOR THE BLOGGERS BASH AWARDS (ABBAs)

 

This is it. The wait is finally over!

 

The FOURTH Annual Bloggers Bash Awards 2018 are now OPEN FOR VOTING.

 

You can vote HERE.

 

We had a HUGE number of nominations, so thank you to everyone who took the time to nominate your favourite bloggers.

 

Voting Closes at midnight on April 30th (BST). The winners will be announced on May 19th at the Bash in London. If you can’t make it along to the event don’t worry, we will put a winners post out on the evening of the same day. Although we have pingbacks to all the winners blogs it would be best for you to check back to see if you won.

 

TO THE VOTERS Choose carefully, you can only vote ONCE per award. There are 9 awards (so this is a long post). Yes, you can vote in each category, but only once in every one.

 

TO THE NOMINEES – Good luck to you all. Every nomination is really well deserved and as a result, this year we are doing things a little differently. Winners will have their prizes and certificates shipped to them as well as their winner’s badges emailed. However, all nominees will be entitled to a Bloggers Bash nominee badge once the voting is over. 

 

Don’t forget to follow all the fun in our Facebook group, on Twitter, or using the Hashtag #BloggersBash. We also have a mailing list which ALWAYS gives you the most up to date info before anyone else. 

 

DisclaimerThe committee has done their best to coordinate the nominations and to ensure, where possible, we gave nominees a choice of which category they wanted to be in. Due to time constraints and limited resources, this may not have always been possible. In addition, the committee is not responsible for the quality of information nominators gave. The committee uses the information it is given. This year we specifically requested the ‘NAME OF YOUR BLOG’ not your first name. Therefore this is what we are displaying. If your name has been displayed incorrectly, you can contact us and request a change by emailing annualbloggersbash@yahoo.co.uk. While the committee will endeavour to make changes promptly we neither guarantee to make those changes nor do we guarantee to do so in a certain time frame. 

 

Awards:

 

BEST OVERALL BLOGGER 

 

Who is the blogger that excels in a variety of categories? Who provides excellent content, is sociable and engaging with readers, shares other posts, or has a writing style that keeps you coming back time and time again?

Whoever you choose needs to be an all-rounder. A blogger that is head and shoulders above the rest as that’s what makes the Best Overall Blogger.

 

FUNNIEST BLOGGER

 

Which blogger always makes you laugh the most? Whether that’s through humourous content or their blogging manner. A blogger that has your sides aching from laughter and brightens up the blog-o-sphere is what makes the Funniest Blogger.

 

MOST INSPIRATIONAL BLOGGER

 

Who inspires you? Is there a blogger that’s thought-provoking and inquisitive? Perhaps they’re a muse to you with the constant provision of inspirational content or imagery. Who’s the one blogger that touched your heart? This is what makes the Most Inspirational Blogger.

 

 

MOST INFORMATIVE (Original Content) BLOGGER

 

This award is for the blogger with the most informative and original content. Who creates fascinating content that you find yourself longing to read? Perhaps they’re a history blogger or they write about the craft of writing/blogging, or maybe they like archaeology or wine tasting. They could be an artist or musician. The topic is irrelevant, it’s the original content that counts. A blogger who shares a wealth of knowledge in an informative way is what makes the Most Informative & Original Blogger.

 

BEST BOOK REVIEW BLOG

 

There are so many wonderful book bloggers out there, but which one stands out for you? Whose book reviews do you enjoy reading and engaging with? It’s not the number of reviews that’s important, but more about the quality of them. Who has you clicking the ‘buy now’ button after reading a riveting summary, or who has the most thoughtful reviews? A blogger who shares an abundance of book reviews in a memorable way deserves the Best Book Review Blog.

 

SERVICES TO BLOGGERS

 

Which blogger goes out of their way to help others? Maybe this is someone who helped you kick-start your blog with tutorials or how-to guides. Perhaps they continually reblog your posts. It could be a blogger who consistently provides useful posts on how to boost your blog. Or maybe you want to nominate someone who provides an engaging platform for others.

Someone who selflessly dedicates themselves to other bloggers is who deserves the Services to Bloggers award.

 

HIDDEN GEM

 

Have you stumbled upon a blog by chance and discovered useful information, or thought-provoking content? Is there a blog that doesn’t get the notoriety they deserve? Maybe they have such an original style you can’t help but read their posts. A blogger who you believe should get the limelight for a change is who deserves the Hidden Gem award.

 

NEWCOMER BLOGGER

 

A category for those bloggers who have been blogging less than a year (joined the blog-o-sphere after 1st June 2017). Did they join with a bang? Have they made an impression? Do they engage with readers? Are they funny, or well designed, or maybe share posts that make you smile time after time. A newbie blogger who deserves recognition makes the best Newcomer Blogger.

 

BEST PAL 

 

Which blogger do you want to go to the pub with? Or maybe have dinner with? Who never fails to reply to comments, and has thoughtful things to say? Maybe they encourage the community through weekly challenges or blog parties. A blogger who makes the blog-o-sphere a better place is what makes the Best Pal.

 

That’s it, folks!

 

Remember to get your ticket and to follow us on Facebook or Twitter using the Hashtag #BloggersBash. We also have a mailing list which ALWAYS gives you the most up to date info before anyone else.

Mushroom (noun): a simple organism known for thriving when kept in the dark and buried up to its neck in manure

Posted in #bloggersbash | Tagged , | 33 Comments

Splish Splosh, Here Comes The Sun #garden #betareaders #thelastwillofsvenandersen

Scotland, at Easter was dry and blue.

Hereabouts it rather precipitated down and I came home to a small lake at the end of the garden, frogspawn on the lawn and the remnants of recent frosts apparent in some burnt leaves and stunted growth.

But today there’s a little sunshine, some heat and, remarkably, a fair bit of colour throughout.

Dog is feeling sprightly, I didn’t overdo the Easter chocolate and my latest book – Apprenticed To My Mother – is back from my editor and ready to go into the publishing straight of the marathon of book writing…

Indeed, so efficient have I been that I’m now looking for more beta readers, should any of you be interested.

This is the sequel to my first book, Dead Flies And Sherry Trifle and is called:

The Last Will Of Sven Andersen

If you are interested, especially if you read and enjoyed the first part of Harry Spittle’s adventures, then do let me know via the contact tab or in the comments.

It might be two or three weeks before I finalise the latest edit but thereafter I love your help.

Of course, if you’d like me to reciprocate, I’d be delighted.

And here, in case it helps tempt you, is the blurb

When Harry Spittle, nearly qualified as a solicitor is approached to make a Will for old acquaintance, Sven Andersen, he is surprised but rather pleased. When it turns out that the Will Sven actually signs is very different to the one Harry has drawn up, and Harry is to be the executor, he is horrified. When he finds out Sven has been in the process of winding up his late father’s criminal empire and a number of not very nice people are interested in the Will’s contents and, especially, who benefits, he is terrified.

If Harry is to remain in one piece, able to continue his career in the law and save his on-off girlfriend, Penny, who is under suspicion for murder, he needs to find out what has happened to the money and distribute it according to Sven’s wishes. The trouble is Sven has not only hidden the assets but also who benefits. Harry will have to solve the puzzle Sven has left with the help of his sister, Dina before the world comes crashing down on him. With so many people depending on him, Harry knows it is time for him to grow up; it’s just that he really, really doesn’t want to.

Set in 1981, to the backdrop of punk music, Thatcherite politics and an upcoming Royal wedding, not to mention the Ashes, this is a book for those who like their nostalgia served with a side of humour and a dash of optimism.

Posted in Books, gardening, gardens, miscellany | Tagged , , , , , , | 41 Comments

Hidden History #deptford

Every Thursday I help out at a shelter. My journey takes me from New Cross Gate station along the A2 towards Greenwich. It’s a tired, tatty piece of south London which is also home to Goldsmiths College.

I’m not a man in a hurry these days. Not much anyway, so the rather magnificent Deptford Town Hall caught my eye a few times as I wandered past. It was built in 1905 and has a rather dramatic and impressive frontage.

What really arrested my leisurely progress were the four statues that stand by the first floor windows, each with a date. The third one, a one armed admiral with the date, 1805, was a bit of a giveaway. Nelson. The date: the Battle of Trafalgar. So who were the others?

The dates of the first two suggested maybe something Shakespearean. Or at least theatrical. But in fact, Henry Poole, the artist aimed at a Nautical theme as the presence of Nelson suggests, as does the rather splendid weather vane.

The first two are Francis Drake and Robert Blake whose tactical intuition helped the British Navy beat the Dutch in the 17th century and who is often called  the father of the Royal Navy.

The last figure, with the date of the Town Hall itself is a figure, nameless but grand, of an Admiral of the Fleet at that time.

The whole thing smacks of Imperial self-importance. Of confidence. Of superiority. Pride, in a word.

But pride and hubris are close cousins. Eleven years later that self-same town hall was the centre of secret trials of conscientious objectors, who refused for a variety of reasons, to fight in WW1. Many were imprisoned for cowardice – perhaps a lesser punishment than the penalty for cowardice at the front – a firing squad – but humiliation and a severe limitation on the imprisoned’s ability to earn a crust. My great uncle went to the front as an ambulance driver, not to fight. That was the only way to avoid such humiliation.

Sadly Willie Dyson died of a brain haemorrhage the day after winning the Military Medal for conspicuous bravery when rescuing colleagues under fire. Cruel, selfish times.

It is difficult these days to see such grandiose monuments without a moment’s pause for the background to its history. The building is magnificent and today it is part of the aforementioned Goldsmiths College, a rather splendid centre of learning in an otherwise rundown part of town.

It is important to look forward, as much as look back and understand context. The beauty of the architecture, in its own right, is sufficient for me. Yesterday was the 100th anniversary of the first votes for women. We don’t imprison for cowardice today, either. So we move forward as we recall our past. At least I hope so.

Posted in history, London, miscellany, thought | Tagged , , , , , , | 27 Comments