This is the view from our holiday apartment in Cromer, yesterday we arrived to a lovely surprise, a free bottle of Prosecco, as well as some chocolate biscuits and tea and coffee!! As you can see the sky is blue and so is the sea in the distance. I’m looking forward to going out with the family later to explore the surrounding area.
We went on a search for a Fish and Chip shop, and eventually found one in Sheringham.
After a tour around we arrived back at Cromer and went for a walk down to the pier.
Then on the way back to the apartment we popped into Cromer church and I had this spooky feeling that we might get locked in. Sure enough we nearly did get locked in, as we were leaving a young man arrived and began locking up! I said to my husband what would have happened if he hadn’t noticed we were there? Perhaps we would have spent New Year’s Eve in the church (our daughters were back at the apartment. ) He replied that he always fancied a night in a church, particularly on New Year’s Eve! That thought didn’t appeal to me !
Tomorrow there are to be fireworks in the early evening in Cromer, what a wonderful way to welcome the New Year in. Lucky residents of Cromer!! How are you spending New Year?
Have a very Happy New Year, thanks for all your support and encouragement following, commenting and liking posts on Kyrosmagica, it means so much to me.
PG (no more than PG-13) Content – let’s keep this family friendly!
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The inspiration for this story came from a missing present on Christmas day, not an unusual event in our house as I tend to be a bit scatty and sometimes I forget where I have put all the presents! It eventually turned up, luckily I hadn’t thrown it into the rubbish by mistake but it just got me thinking…… what might happen in different circumstances if a touch of fantasy made its way into Christmas Day. Who knows where a missing present might lead you ?
Read on and find out…
The Secret Santa Gift
The envelope was white, plain apart from the printed letters marking her name. Ellie opened it and found a white and gold gift tag inside bearing the words: Happy Christmas, love from your Secret Santa, followed by two golden criss-cross kisses. The envelope was empty, no present, no gift voucher, nothing.
Ellie didn’t mind that there was no present inside, that just made her even more curious. She lifted the envelope to her nose and inhaled the masculine scent within. This succeeded in making her knees go all weak.
She dropped the envelope and a flurry of gold dust appeared, scattering a trail that extended towards the front door. Ellie didn’t hesitate for a moment she liked an adventure so she followed the trail. The gold dust continued for several feet and then vanished. She spotted another tiny envelope. Ellie leant down and picked it up. Inside she found the tiniest folded envelope that she had ever seen, and within this envelope there was an even tinier painting of a heart. Ellie blushed.
She paused, wondering what to do next. The tiny folded envelope began to spiral round and round twirling, lengthening and widening, flattening and folding into a succession of beautiful origami flowers. First, an exquisite rose, then a vibrant lotus flower, followed by a proud orchid, and then the origami flower took flight turning into a bird of paradise that flew up into the air and finally flattened out, folding into a pocket heart than lingered like a tender caress within the palm of her hand. Ellie couldn’t believe her eyes, how extraordinary!
She unfolded the origami pocket heart and saw that within it there were three paper puzzle pieces with the words:
Love and kisses!
From your …..
How strange! She heard a rustling sound and looked up, just above her sat a tiny elf on a branch of an overhanging tree. He smiled at her, and blushed so much that he turned the tips of his pointed ears a spectacular candy floss pink.
Ellie realised that her secret admirer was in fact one of Santa’s elves. He was tiny, but had the most handsome face that she had ever seen. He was dressed to impress, his clothes were smart and shiny, his hair sleeked back. He jumped down from the tree with the agility of a dancer and bowed down so low that it looked like he might scrape his nose on the ground.
“So pleased that my gift reached you Ellie; I’ve been saving up Santa points for good behaviour for years so that I could be your Secret Santa!”
“Goodness, that’s so sweet of you… ”
“Eddy the elf, at your sweet service,” he said bowing again, even more theatrically than he had done before.
“I’ve never met an elf before,” said Ellie, reflecting that she had never met such an imposing fellow in such a tiny but perfect muscular frame.
“Well, you’ll have lots of opportunity to meet all of my elf friends,” said Eddy, “We’re off to help Santa with the last minute wrapping.”
“You’re kidding me,” said Ellie, wide eyed with excitement. She couldn’t believe her ears. She thought she must be dreaming, this couldn’t possibly be real.
“No, I most certainly am not kidding! You are to be my new bride, so I must make a special elf speech. Here goes,” he cleared his throat for special effect, several times before continuing, “Every year one elf must choose a human bride so that we will be on the pulse of what youngsters want today. Will you marry me, sweet, beautiful, exquisite, Ellie? ”
“Your bride!” said Ellie in surprise, “But I’m still in secondary school, I’m way too young to marry.”
“Not in Elfland. Elves marry really young, you’re the perfect age for a love match,” said Eddy with a grin, “We seal the match with a very special kiss. That is how we show love in Elfland, we kiss and kiss and kiss and kiss! We are the kissing champions!”
Eddy took a massive leap catapulting himself up to land a kiss in a million on Ellie’s lips before she could even think to reply.
The kiss was beyond magical. It lingered for ages, long after he had landed back on the ground, tingling and caressing her lips. At the same time Ellie felt a strange sensation, as if someone was pressing firmly, but gently down on her head, squeezing her oversized body into her shoes. She looked at Eddy. Eddy’s nose and her nose were on a level, Eddy’s lips and her lips were at exactly the right point, and she was now the exact same height and proportions as him.
He gave her a huge hug. “Welcome to Elfhood my love,” he said.
Ellie no longer had the feeling that she didn’t belong in her tall, gangly human body. She wanted to screech with joy but she thought that might not be the best example of elfish etiquette.
So instead she said, “Thanks for rescuing me Eddy,” and with a demure lady like smile, she continued,” I always felt out of sorts, a stranger in my gigantic, gangly, human body.”
“I know,” said Eddy, jumping up and down with excitement, as if he was on a super charged pogo stick. “I have always been sure that you are the one for me.”
Eddy and Ellie danced around and around, twirling faster and faster until Ellie’s head felt as light as the lightest Chocolate Whip.
“Hurry, Santa’s nose will be getting redder by the moment, his nose goes as red as his Santa’s top when he’s cross, we’d better go, or we’ll be late for the present wrapping ceremony.”
Off they went, their hands swaying together in perfect joyous unison. Ellie grinned, squeezing Eddie’s hand. Eddie tickled her hand, and Ellie laughed, an unrestrained elfish laugh that started deep in her soul and never ended just like those tasty Elfish lingering kisses!
I hope you liked my story, a bit of a Christmas theme!
This is a lovely Christmas wreath that my sister in law Lorraine Mallon made for me, and below is the table top arrangement that she made too. Isn’t it lovely? She’s branching out into creative endeavours, and this is a small sample of the sort of thing she hopes to do in terms of floral arrangement, and well as this she intends to make jewellery, and paint too. So good luck to her, I wish her all the very best.
My daughter also had a go at some floral vase arrangement too:
I finished work at 6pm on Christmas Eve so I have been super busy, retail is such hard work! I’m now looking forward to two days off to rest my weary bones. My husband is cooking, (luckily he loves to cook!) so Lorraine and I are going to be sous chefs peeling the spuds.
Hope you have a wonderful Christmas with friends and family.
All the best for 2016.
Bye for now, this is what I’d like to be doing….. you can dream …. No snow here, and no hot tub, sigh….!!
Goodreads Synopsis: A master storyteller at his best—the O. Henry Prize winner Stephen King delivers a generous collection of stories, several of them brand-new, featuring revelatory autobiographical comments on when, why, and how he came to write (or rewrite) each story.
Since his first collection, Nightshift, published thirty-five years ago, Stephen King has dazzled readers with his genius as a writer of short fiction. In this new collection he assembles, for the first time, recent stories that have never been published in a book. He introduces each with a passage about its origins or his motivations for writing it.
There are thrilling connections between stories; themes of morality, the afterlife, guilt, what we would do differently if we could see into the future or correct the mistakes of the past. “Afterlife” is about a man who died of colon cancer and keeps reliving the same life, repeating his mistakes over and over again. Several stories feature characters at the end of life, revisiting their crimes and misdemeanors. Other stories address what happens when someone discovers that he has supernatural powers—the columnist who kills people by writing their obituaries in “Obits;” the old judge in “The Dune” who, as a boy, canoed to a deserted island and saw names written in the sand, the names of people who then died in freak accidents. In “Morality,” King looks at how a marriage and two lives fall apart after the wife and husband enter into what seems, at first, a devil’s pact they can win.
Magnificent, eerie, utterly compelling, these stories comprise one of King’s finest gifts to his constant reader—“I made them especiallyfor you,” says King. “Feel free to examine them, but please be careful. The best of them have teeth.”
This is an amazing collection of short stories. Go get a copy, don’t think twice, it really is worth it. Especially if like me you want to write short stories what better place to start than to read some from this master short story teller? This collection literally speaks to the reader, it is as if you can hear Stephen King’s voice reading you these magnificent stories. How wonderful is that? He manages to achieve this by beginning each story with a short anecdote making it doubly interesting and giving each story a personal touch. One of my favourites is his cup and handle analogy in which he explains that some stories come complete while others need a bit more work to fulfil their potential. He ends each story with a dedication to friends and to authors such as Raymond Carver, John Irving, W F Harvey, Russ Dorr, (researcher, advisor, and close friend,) Elmore Leonard, Jim Spruce, Surendra Patel, Owen King, (his son,) Herman Wouk, Joe Hill, Michael McDowell, Hesh Kestin, Marshall Dodge, (a Maine Humorist,) Kurt Sutter and Richard Chizmar.
As well as this he passes on little writerly gems like “The Hair of Harold Roux, which he says is “probably the best novel about writing ever published.”
In this compilation there is such a wide variety of stories to suit all tastes, there is poetry, The Bone Church, and one for baseball fans, Blockade Billy. As well as this, The Little Green God of Agony “is a search for closure,” after experiencing “two or three years of physical therapy and slow rehabilitation,” after he “was hit by a guy driving a van.”
After reading this wonderful compilation of short stories I felt drawn even more to Stephen King’s writing, he achieves this by sharing numerous personal anecdotes: ” Public appearances aren’t my favourite thing,” and follows this particular apologetic confessional by writing an amazingly imaginative short story That Bus Is Another World.
All of the stories are excellent but I do have my personal favourites which are:
Mile 81. A story about a car with a nasty bite! Loved it!
Premium Harmony. A ten year marriage can end in an unexpectedly tragic way but being Stephen King a touch of dark humour sneaks in there!
Batman and Robin Have An Altercation. What could happen when you are out and about with an aging parent, in a road rage situation.
The Dune. A fantasy story which has the most amazing ending.
The Bad Little Kid. With a title like that it was bound to be awesome. Loved this one!
Afterlife. Would we do it all differently if we could live our lives again?
Herman Wouk Is Still Alive. This story was triggered by a real life tragic accident which killed the drunken driver, “all but one of her passengers (her son survived), and the three men in the SUV.”
Under The Weather. When you just can’t bear to let a loved one go.
The Little Green God of Agony. This is a nasty piece of work, make no mistake.
That Bus Is Another World. Whilst peering into another world momentarily, what would you choose to ignore ?
Obits. Stephen King was thinking of a film called I Bury the Living when he wrote this one!
Drunken Fireworks. This made me chuckle a lot!
Summer Thunder. The final story in the collection is about the end of the world, and is inspired by his love of his 1986 Harley Softail.
Hope that convinced you to read Bazaar of Bad Dreams.
Hugh from Hugh’s Views and News is sponsoring his Charity Christmas Tree Topper Challenge again this year. Last year’s challenge was a great success!
Do you want to join in with Hugh’s Photo Tree Topper Challenge? Here is all you have to do:
From Hugh’s blog: “Here’s how you can all join in and help Angela, Macy, Toby, and I raise £250 for The Dogs Trust.”
1. Take a photo of what sits on top of your Christmas tree. 2. Create a new post on your blog entitled “Hugh’s Photo Challenge: Week 8 – Charity Christmas Tree Topper Challenge.” 3. Add the photo(s) you have taken to the post and tell us a little about what you are showing. 4. Create a pingback to Hugh’s post or leave a link to your post in the comments section of Hugh’s post so that other participants can view your post.
The challenge is open until Tuesday 5th January 2016 and more details can be found on Hugh’s and Colleen’s blog:
Please click on the link The Dogs Trust if you would like to make any donations directly to The Dogs Trust, in UK. Or alternatively in America, you could consider making a donation to the Humane Society of the United States or a local Humane Society in your own hometown.This is not compulsory to enter in the challenge, but if you would like to do so that would no doubt be more than welcome!
Sadly I don’t have a dog myself nowadays but I did as a child, Topsy, a cute little black and white cheeky rascal who used to like eating all sorts of things that weren’t particularly good for a dog! Look at that tiny frame it disguises a hearty appetite for inedible things! I remember one year she ate a balloon at my birthday party. Thank goodness she was okay no harm done. Also one year she ran off and had a love affair with a local dog, we were really worried that she had been lost for good but she reappeared with her guilty tail between her legs…
So to get into the spirit of celebrating man’s best furry friend here are a couple of photos of Topsy:
First this photo is of mum and I on our balcony in Hong Kong, I used to live there when I was little. Actually this kind of captures cheeky me and rascal Topsy pretty well I reckon! My mum is smiling but in a hesitant way as if she knows that she has a handful there…
This photograph below is of Topsy, my brother Donald and my dad Ronald looking all smiley, but Topsy is a bit sad, she is thinking of her wild escapade with her lost love….
As well as participating in the Tree Top Challenge and chatting about dogs I am also joining in Colleen at Silver Threading’s lovely idea to share Christmas Trees from Around The World, so if you’d like to join in with this particular challenge don’t forget to say where you are! My tree is situated at my home in Cambridge, England.
Here’s the link to join in Colleen’s Trees Around The World:
At the weekend I went out with my husband and my youngest daughter to find a lovely tree at our nearby garden centre. At that point in time my eldest was still at University so unfortunately she missed this trip but she’s back home today, it’s so lovely to see her, and now she has seen the tree too.
I just love a real tree, don’t you?
Especially when it is lit up.
I knew it was the one as soon as my husband pulled it out from amongst an array of other trees it had such lovely symmetry and a fullness that caught my eye. So I said, “That’s the one.” Of course my husband still pulled out a few other likely contenders but I got my way in the end! I can be quite stubborn at times….
I decorated our beautiful Christmas tree with my youngest daughter but to my dismay we couldn’t find the angel to top the tree, so I asked my husband if he could get me another one, but he didn’t manage to find one, he was too busy buying the groceries! Just as well, as I found her hiding in amongst a large bag of Christmas gift tags and wrapping paper. For some reason she wasn’t in the bubble wrap with the other Christmas baubles. Perhaps she felt a bit too grand to be stuck there amongst the bawdy riff raff!
Now she may look like she’s sleeping on top of my tree but don’t let that fool you, she knows what’s what! She’s keeping a look out for any sneaky opening presents before Christmas, that is not allowed.
Thanks for popping by to see my tree and my childhood dog and for joining in the Christmas festivities Kyrosmagica style, and don’t forget to pop over to Colleen and Hugh’s blog to join in the challenges.
Just recently I started working in retail as a Christmas temporary. My plan is to earn some pennies to get together a book fund to pay for artwork for a front cover, my promotional, and other expenses that I will incur when I self publish my novel Krystallos in 2016.
I’m not working in Ted Baker as this photo above might suggest, I like to confuse you!
The Abominable Snowman is sticking his rather long tongue out at passers by. A new ploy perhaps to gather customers? Anyway I digress, I’m waffling, back to my experience working as a Christmas temp. This has been a huge departure from my usual daily routine of writing, taking photographs, updating my social media accounts, and of course blogging here on WordPress. What a retail baptism of fire it has been!! Particularly as I am working in a large, prestigious store in a very busy department which happens to be right next door to children’s toys and clothes. The experience has been illuminating in a multitude of ways that I did not expect.
First off you have to walk miles to get anywhere, the shop floor, and stock rooms are vast, and it is a long journey to the staff canteen too, so by the end of the day you feel as if you have had a mega session workout! There is no need to spend money on a gym membership! If you’re like me your water, bubble bath, and heating bills will sky rocket because you’ll soak your weary limbs in a hot tub of bubbly loveliness every night.
The very nature of retail means that you are standing on your feet all day, and if you’re not standing, or walking, you’re climbing up step ladders, (particularly if you’re short like me, and unable to reach the top shelf in the stock room,) or if you aren’t doing any of these aforementioned things you are lifting…. With all of this physical work there is the temptation to sneak into the stock room and take a short sit down for a few seconds on a stool there. The stock room itself is a vast Alladin’s cave of just about everything you can think of, there is even a wall of hangers dedicated to just about every brand you can think of, so the first room of thumb is to befriend the stock room manager as he is a guy you most definitely want on your side.
Thirst, that’s another aspect of working in retail that I didn’t consider. Working in retail is thirsty work, so rule no. 1 is to drink loads of water before you begin, and avoid alcohol at all costs, this I learnt the hard way. Last Saturday I had a very nice Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, Christmas pudding, minced pies, chocolates and a couple of glasses of wine, courtesy of my employer but going on the tills immediately after this gourmet delight wasn’t a good idea, no, I needed a sleep after all that food and alcohol… ZZZZZZ…..
Now this is where I’m going to get a bit silly, but that’s allowed as this is Kyrosmagica blog after all. There is a whole new language in retail that just sounds like gobbledegook to me. I haven’t worked in retail since I was a teenager, I do wish this was just yesterday but in truth my teenage years were a long time ago! Of course this is the case, I have two teenage daughters for goodness sake! Obviously back then things were very different, we didn’t have internet returns, fancy collection services, in fact my memory of retail work is pretty hazy, I seem to remember selling china, lots of it and wrapping it carefully in bubble wrap, and dusting, but did I do much more than this? I worked for a department store called Goldbergs in Edinburgh which doesn’t exist anymore, a bit like my foggy retail experience, so it’s no surprise that when a manager asked me to do recovery…… I looked confused and a bit stumped. Recovery, what in heavens is that? My writer’s mind did a merry dance and came up with all kinds of exciting possibilities but ….. Recovery isn’t giving mouth to mouth resuscitation to an old granny who has collapsed in the store, grabbing a stolen package from a thief, or catching a Christmas mug before it splats on the floor, no recovery, is simply making the store ready for customers, in other words tidying up! That I can do, I think….. Then, there is the Kimble gun, no this isn’t a deadly weapon, well not unless it gets into my hands, that sharp needle has to be kept well away from my fingers and from passing customers, that plastic safety cover is a must. What is the lethal Kimble? It’s just an over sized stapler type device for putting tags on, once you get the hang of it, it’s quite easy! As well as this there are other terms which escape me…. There are a plethora of abbreviations on the rota of work to confuse you, so MT is Menswear till, FR is fitting room, if you happen to be a bit dyslexic and think FR reads FP you’d be in real trouble. Funnily enough that’s just what I did the other day, FP, what’s that, Fred Perry? No read the initials properly Marje…. and I’m not even dyslexic so I have no excuse!
Somehow working in retail has been an unexpected fund of inspiration for me, Yippee!!!! Nowadays I can’t go anywhere without thinking of ideas for stories. The stock room has given me an idea for a short story about an evil stock room guy, that’s no reflection on anyone who works in the stockroom you all seem lovely I hasten to add… Those terms that I mentioned might just feature in my writing too, who knows….
Oh, before I forget to mention it one day we had a customer in the store screaming which was frightening, given the prevalence of terrorist attacks recently. The managers cautiously went off to investigate. I’m not sure exactly what happened and why she was so distressed but thankfully nobody was hurt. Perhaps there’s a story there too..
My highlights up until now have been many but here are my favourites:
1. A handsome young man came and asked for a different size in a garment and asked if he could come to the stock room with me to find it!!! Cheeky….
2. Santa’s arrival, and of course all the excited kids in the toy department which happens to be right next to Menswear, they bring back memories of my two daughters when they were little!
3. Music playing, one day we had a band playing right next to my particular section in Menswear. This was great fun, and put a spring in my step but by the end of the day, I was kind of glad it wasn’t a daily occurrence! No offence it was lovely for a while…..
4. Minor accidents. Yes I managed to stab myself, drawing blood with the Kimble gun that shoots plastic hanging hooks on to caps, and gloves. I nearly became a selling item! Also at the till one of the staff managed to staple her finger with a bog standard stapler, who knows how she managed that? !!!
One day after work I had to walk some more to pick up a canvas for my daughter for her GCSE Textiles mock exam. I ended up walking to the other end of town to find one in my price range. A mother’s love knows no bounds! My poor wee legs…. There was a wizened old lady serving on the till in that particular shop who looked as if she should be well beyond retiral age, poor soul she looked exhausted, it was just before closing. Sympathy.
As I waited for my bus home, I noticed that across the road from where I was standing there was a large yellow skip with two men standing in it, shouting orders to a young man bringing huge slabs of polystyrene packing towards it. The younger man arrived at the skip carrying these potential missiles above his head, and tried to lob the packing at his mates but his weapon was too big and unwieldy to be a useful missile. Watching this kept me entertained and amused on my long, long, wait for the bus….
Well it’s been an eye opener, it really has. Respect to all those shop workers, and the plethora of employees who work standing on your feet all day, you do a sterling job. It’s not easy.
Have a very Merry Christmas, and put your feet up and have a long soak in the tub whenever you can…
My retail work has really put me in the mood for Christmas this year. What about you? Are you in the mood for Christmas too? Have you started your Christmas shopping? Or are you really behind like me? Do tell….
Characters are the bread and butter of a writer’s tool kit. Heena thinks so and I do too, so of course I had to reblog this wonderful source of links about character profile sheets for future reference from Heena Rathore.
Ah, Ronovan you have me well and truly stumped this week. Whatever can I write about using the prompt words cake and wolf? A difficult combination, this calls for a bit of wolfish humour and gluttony methinks……
Somehow I can see a wolf turning up at a fancy dress party in a cake costume…. Could be a shocker.. A party with a creamy strawberry, mousse, santa bite! Look at those eyes, it’s a dead giveaway. Okay, that’s totally daft, a cake wolf a la mousse, but that’s alright because it’s cute and cute works for me… especially combined with contrasting nasty Mr. Wolf.
‘I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph.‘
Child star actress Shirley Temple.
How sad, poor Shirley, six seems very young to stop believing in Santa Claus, but perhaps this is the price of fame?
The magic of Christmas is what I love the most, the twinkling lights, the promise of what is to come,
the smell of a real tree, the aroma of a roasting turkey, and of course the colourful presents under the tree, what more could you ask for? Well perhaps a touch of good will, and even tempers would go down a treat at Christmas. But often tempers get frayed, and words are spoken that are regretted shortly after, that is the nature of Christmas, the excitement and anticipation, the quest for the perfect Christmas sometimes leads to arguments and strife so today on the 2nd day of December, for Colleen’s Writer’s Quote Wednesday and Ronovan’s BeWow, Be Wonderful Wednesday
I’d like to focus on the simple magic of Christmas. This magic is often lost, consumed by enormous presents, oversized turkeys, and shows of extreme extravagance so instead let’s consider what is in our hearts this December and share a bit of laughter, and hope that everyone will have a peaceful and harmonious Christmas.
So my #BeWow quote is this gem from Roy. L. Smith.
“He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.”
― Roy L. Smith
So with the joyful heart of Christmas in mind, let me leave you with a few amusing, cheeky Christmas quotes, which hopefully will get Santa to loudly proclaim Ho, Ho, HO!!!!
‘The one thing women don’t want to find in their stockings on Christmas morning is their husband.’ The late American comic Joan Rivers
‘I once bought my kids a set of batteries for Christmas with a note on it saying, toys not included.’
Comedian Bernard Manning (1930-2007)
‘The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live.’
George Carlin (1937-2008), American stand-up comedian.
What I don’t like about office Christmas parties is looking for a job the next day.
– Phyllis Diller
There is a remarkable breakdown of taste and intelligence at Christmastime. Mature, responsible grown men wear neckties made of holly leaves and drink alcoholic beverages with raw egg yolks and cottage cheese in them.
– P.J. O’Rourke
Christmas, here again. Let us raise a loving cup: Peace on earth, goodwill to men, and make them do the washing up.
– Wendy Cope
If you’d like to join in Writer’s Quote Wednesday, and #BeWow here’s the link: