Daily Prompt Imitation/Flatter – In Memory of Mr. Mad

When I saw the title of this challenge, I had to shake my head a bit. I do not have a favourite blogger. Blogging is a hobby of mine. I enjoy writing about this and that so where do I start. I do not copy, but can be inspired. Over the years I have been blogging starting with good old Yahoo 350, and then Multiply which dies today, I have written many blogs and read many blogs. Now I have arrived in Blogger and WordPress. I have learnt over the years that a backup is always good, but now I don’t have a backup in that sense any more. I just have two places.

Pondering over the subject of this blog, Mr. Mad came to my mind. Now who is Mr. Mad. He was the first Blogger colleague I had, starting on Yahoo 350 and then via Multiply. I loved his blogs, they were amusing in a sort of satirical way. His main character was Mr. Tiddleywinkles, his cat who of course spoke fluent human language and really kept Mr. Mad up and running.

Mr. Mad inspired me to start blogging about my own three cats (they have their own site on WordPress). I even started a series in the sense of Mr. Mad called “Reservoir cats”, but the writings now only exist in a few blogs that still exist. Hier is a link to one of my parts Reservoir Cats 3.

I did not know Mr. Mad personally. He was english, from North England, and starting writing his blog as a bet for a case of beer (so was Mr. Mad). He had to write for three months. At the end of his three month writing session he got his beer but became so popular that we were all calling for more, and we got more, for at least three years. Mr. Tiddleywinkles was killed in the meanwhile, but he had three brothers, also known as Mr. Tiddleywinkles, so they would take over one by one. They all belonged to the Kittykat club, based in Manchester, who fought against crime. Mr. Mad had a hard time keeping Mr. Tiddleywinkles under control, but we were all part of his fan club.

The stories gradually did not come so regularly and we realised that Mr. Mad did have some health problems. One day he found it was time to stop writing. Perhaps he might return, he would have to think it over.

A few months later one of my blogging colleagues in Multiply informed that Mr. Mad was no longer with us. He had died a few weeks after his last entry. He probably felt what was going to happen. We all missed him terribly and he was and remains my favourite blogger. I am not going to attempt to write in his way, but here is an original that I found still on Internet. Today Multiply dies on the socal side of things and the blogs will probably die with the site. I have managed to rescue this one, the first he wrote, in memory of Mr. Mad and his writings, may he rest in peace.

“A Totally ruined Week-end
As you all know the Haggis Hunting Season started yesterday, me myself and Mr Tiddlywinkles were all prepared and ready to hit the Scottish Highlands.
I had my sturdy brogues set out as well as a decent pair of Plus Fours, tweed jacket and not forgetting my deerstalker hat, and my home made bow and arrows, ( I used to have a double barrelled shotgun, but the police took it off me because they said I was mad, well of coarse I’m Mad that’s my name  I just wonder sometimes if my name was Sane, would I have been allowed to keep it.

I believe it was Friday night when the shit hit the proverbial well you know what it is, Mr Tiddlywinkles says all of a sudden, I’m not going, WHAT, I had everything prepared, train timetables everything, even a guide to show us the best vantage point’s, it cost me an arm and a leg. I even bought Mr Tiddlywinkles a new sack to put the Haggis in. Now myself and Mr Tiddlywinkles have been living together for a few year’s now, and this has never happened before, WOW,WOW, before any of you get the wrong impression, let me explain something to you all.

Mr Tiddlywinkles is a cat ( CAT ) so stop that snickering, I will explain how we met that fateful day. I was outside having an argument, with a neighbour, (now you all know me well by this time , and the last thing I want to do is have an argument with anybody ) after this said argument I turned around to go back into my humble abode, and sat on the doorstep was a cat, I snarled at it as I was pretty wound up at the time, the cat just snarled back at me, then walked in my house and jumped on my favourite chair, what could I do, I said SHOO KITTY, get out , but no nothing, that was about 4 year’s ago, and he’s still here, we often sit up till the wee hour’s of the morning discussing thing’s like world politics, the problem’s that beset us all, and we have sorted them all out, but who listens fucking nobody, ( sorry about my French ) So the weekend was totally ruined, and with it being Friday, Mr Tiddlywinkles demands his Friday treat which is, fresh salmon steaks, poached in fresh cream with a side dish of mice and rat escalopes, and what do I have, pig’s trotter’s boiled in vinegar, a bit of tripe ( that’s cows stomach ) followed by a nice Bury black pudding with strawberry jam.

My God look at the date.”

Imitation, Flattery – In Memory of Mr. Mad

Daily Prompt – Audience of One – My English teacher at school

Dear Madam

Do you remember all those bad notes you gave me for composition. The many times I was at the bottom of the class for my careless mistakes. Of course, there were stories I wrote using no imagination and eventually I failed the big english examination and had to take it again. I was never one of the girls that was asked to read her writing in front of the class, to be praised and to have perhaps just a thread of talent in composing a story.

I loved reading, but not the books we had to read at school. Modern literature was my favourite. Of course Jane Austin and the Bronte sisters were talented, but so was Geroge Orwell and Ray Bradbury. Sorry madam, I know that did not fit into the curriculum of our high school. We were young ladies and had to learn to appreciate the classics. Of course I appreciate the classics. I now devour them one after the other and I enjoy them, but school did not make them interesting for me.

Now is the time for you to read my blog, to see what I had inside, waiting to break out with the correct encouragement. You never encouraged me, just shook your head. I never wrote a best seller, but I have been encouraged by others that read my  stories. I write about everything. It had been waiting for so many years to enjoy writing. Yes Madam, the computer world is a wonderful thing. It gives us the chance to publish our thoughts and our ideas. There is no limit to what you write about.

I have written murder mysteries, weird stories, even science fiction. I have tried everything. Sometimes my blog might just  be the day in the life of an Anglo Swiss accompanied by her three cats. Yes, even my cats blog, but naturally in my name. They have their own Chronicles seeing life from the point of view of a feline. The thing is Madam, my blogs are read and appreciated. Not that I insist I have a perfect blog. In no way, improvements can always be made and constructive criticism is welcome. Not just minus points, but perhaps a little plus or someone showing me the right way to go.

So now Madam, you are condemned to read my blog. You are pressed for time? I had to find the time to write my blog and at school you always had time for the others, so now you can spare some time for me. Just read what I have written. You do not have to correct anything, but just see that I was able to piece a few things together to make some literal sense.

Who knows? Perhaps with the right encouragement I could have made a career in journalism. Neither you or I will ever know. Let me just say that on my own I found pleasure in writing. I enjoy writing and blogging. One wish, please think twice in future before you cast a negative glance on the work of a pupil. You might destroy her taste for good literature and ruin her chance to perhaps become a well-known author.

Yours truly
your ex-pupil many years ago.

Daily Prompt – Audience of One

Daily Prompt: Take it from me – What’s the best piece of advice you’ve given someone that you failed to take yourself?

I really had to think about this, as I do not usually meddle in things that are not my business, but those magic words at the end of the challenge “you failed to take yourself” reminds me of my working days. Times change and so do organisations. In my particular case I had a good job, customer contact with the world and speaking many foreign languages. I made my own decisions and no-one meddled in my work. I was trusted. I was “just” an employee in the office, but was proud of what I had achieved.

One fine day, things changed. A new organisation was called for, my chief had too much on his desk and had to reorganise. After twenty-five years of service for the company, with another five years to go before retirement, I found I now had a new person in charge of my work. Just a few years more than half my age. She took over the interesting parts of my work and I was left as something like an assembly line worker. She was even given the task of carrying out the annual qualification talk with us. Not very nice, when her only experience was a special course and a text book to put her on the right way.

Over the years I did reassure some of my younger colleagues, when the job was not what they expected and suggested they should look elsewhere. The career opportunities were good at the time.

And now that would have been the best piece of advice that I failed to take.

Daily Prompt: Take it from me

The Lift

lift
The letter was burning in Jeff’s pocket. It was one of those bad moments in his position as personal manager for the company. The company was not doing so well and decisions had to be made. For the younger staff, not so bad. They would find another job, in another company, but Joseph FitzSimmons, no, that just did not have to be. Admittedly he was on the wrong side of sixty, but officially he would be retired in two years, so why not wait? Companies lived from their profits and if money had to be saved, you started with those that could have an early retirement, then the lazy ones and eventually the workers you wanted to get rid of for some time. Joseph was number one on the list, he had to go.

Jeff liked Joseph. He was a good man, a worker, never complained if he had to work more hours, if he had to come in on a Saturday morning – no problem. His wife had died a year ago and he was on his own.

“I think I will wait until I give him the letter”, Jeff was not happy about this. Then he was distracted by the telephone.

“Jeff Relf, Machine Tools Incorporated, can I help you.”

“Of course you can Jeff, just pack your stuff together and come home, dinner is nearly ready and I have a funny feeling that this evening things are going to happen.”

Jeff took a quick look at his watch, it was Jean his wife and she was right, it was time to go home.

“Things might happen, you mean…”

“Yes Jeff, I do, tomorrow we are going to be three in the family most probably. But no hurry, I will just be glad when you are home.”

“I’m on my way love” and Jeff quickly cleared his desk and said his goodbyes for the evening. He had a train to catch and certainly did not want to be late. There might be a baby on the way.

He glanced quickly in Joseph’s direction and noticed that his desk was already abandoned. He usually caught the same train as Jeff.

“Perhaps I could give him the letter when we part company at the station,  no tomorrow morning would be better.”

Jeff left the office and enterered the lift, expecting to see Joseph, but there was no Joseph. “Thank goodness for small mercies” thought Jeff and entered the lift. The door was just closing when it sprang open again. Joseph was out of breath as if he had been running.

“That was lucky” Joseph said “I thought I had missed it already.”

“I wondered if you would catch the lift, I thought you had already left” answered Jeff and he pressed the button for the ground floor.

“No, I had some business to finish first of all.”

The lift moved and then there was an abrupt halt. Jeff was propelled to the opposite wall and there was a complete silence. No sound of a lift motor. and the lights went out. He could only hear the sound of his own breathing.

“Joseph, are you there?”

“Of course I am Jeff, don’t intend going anywhere else at the moment. It seems that we are stuck, no light and no movement.”

“Not exactly what I need at the moment. My wife called to say that our baby will probably be on its way this evening and being the first, I really don’t need a lift that breaks down.”

“No worry Jeff, I am sure things will turn out right. Just don’t panic.”

“But if I miss the train, then I can be lucky to get home in the next hour.”

“Same here Jeff, but you are lucky to have someone waiting for you. I just go home to an empty house since Doris passed on. But I don’t want to bother you with my problems, I have had a good life, good job and good colleagues. I am sure that this lift will start moving soon and you will be home in time.”

Jeff was surprised how calm Joseph was. No light, everything broken, perhaps the lift might start tumbling down the shaft, and there he was quite cool telling Jeff not to worry.

“You know Jeff, I am sure my days are numbered in the company, I am not getting any younger, and have to make room for the youngsters. Today the new generation has to be dynamic, no time to consider personal problems, just look forward and walk over the bodies of the superfluous employees. I can see how things are going and am glad to go.”

“But Joseph, you are are one of the best.”

“Thanks Jeff, but we both know that the end comes just when you don’t expect it. I think I will be glad when I meet my Doris again. I am sure she will be waiting for me. Sometimes I think I can see her.”

The conversation was becoming somewhat weird for Jeff’s taste, but then suddenly there was another jolt and he could hear the lift machinery again. The lights went on in the lift. Jeff just wanted to reply to Joseph’s words and reassure him when the lift doors opened at the ground floor. He looked to Joseph to wish him a pleasant evenng, but Joseph was no longer there.

“He was quick” thought Jeff “probably in a hurry to get home and so am I.”

Jeff left the lift and hurried on his way to the station. He glanced at this watch and saw that he had only a few seconds to get the train. He then found the entrance blocked by police and ambulances.

“I have to catch the train” said Jeff to a policeman.

“No more trains today” was the answer. “There was an accident at the station. The train arriving got derailed and a lot of people have been injured and killed that were waiting for the train to arrive.

“But how will I get home?”

“There are busses waiting as a special service.”

Jeff managed to catch a bus and eventually arrived home.

Jean was waiting for him.

“Thank goodness you are ok and that nice Mr. FitzWilliam called me to say I shouldn’t worry, you were not in that bad accident. There were a lot of people killed. It was the train you always catch.”

“I know Jean, but luckily the lift broke down in the office and I was late. You said Joseph called you.”

“Yes, he said not to worry and you would be home about half an hour later than usual. And now Jeff, you can call a taxi, our son has decided to put in an appearance this evening.”

So Jeff and Jean were soon on their way to the maternity hospital.

The next morning Jeff arrived at the office and wanted to thank Joseph for phoning his wife and tell him that he was now the proud father of a son.

“Didn’t you hear Jeff” said his secretary.

“What?”

“Joseph was killed in the train accident yesterday evening. He was one of the passengers waiting for the train on the platform when it derailed. It is so tragic.”

The Arum Flower of Basel, Switzerland

It stinks, it is more than two meters high and flowers every 2 years. Yesterday it flowered again, the Arum flower, in the Botanical Garden in Basel.  It is quite a happening and if I had known I would have postponed my Tao Chi today, or my dental appointment tomorrow and perhaps my doctors appointment on Thursday. It only flowers for 2-3 days and a photo would really have been something. However, auntie Internet is always ready so here it is, the Arum flower known in latin as Amorphophallus titanum (which I will not translate).

Arum Flower

I just saw it on the Swiss news this evening.

Creative Challenge 228 – Brotherly Love

Stables at Sissinghurst

“What do you think Jason, looks like a fine horse.”

“Yes, Bill, I reckon we will get a lot of work out him. Ok, Johnny what do you think, you are standing there holding her as if you have already adopted her.””

“She is a lovely horse uncles, can I go for a ride with her?”

“Of course you can son, she is all yours.”

“You mean she belongs to me.”

“It’s your birthday son and that is our birthday present” and Bill and Jason, the two uncles were proud of their son Johnny.

The thing was no-one was sure who Johnny’s father was. Jason and Bill were both in love with Sarah, Johnny’s mother, who died giving birth to Johnny. Sarah could never make up her mind between Bill or Jason. Of course it was a secret, but Bill and Jason were brothers, had gone to school together, shared everything, and had inhehrited the farm from their father. Sarah was a good housekeeper, looked after both the men and one day she told them she was expecting their child. She was not even sure herself who the father was.

Jason and Bill both had a guilty conscience, but they were brothers and Sarah being Sarah told them straight out.

“Listen boys, you are both good men and I could not wish for better fathers for my unborn. You both know how things have developed on this lonely farm, but I just want a good life for my child.”

Six months later Sarah went into labour. It was deep Winter, they were snowed in and had no chance to call the local physician or a midwife, so they did what they could. It was a difficult birth. The baby was in the wrong position and Sarah could not be saved. In the nineteenth century medicine had not made such progress as today.

They decided they would do what they could for Sarah’s son, who they named John, after their own father. Strange circumstances called for strange ways. It was decided that Johnny would call Bill and Jason uncle, although for Bill and Jason Johnny was their son.

And today Johnny was sixteen years old and he was given his first horse, a white mare, which he named Sarah after his mother who he never knew. He often wondered about his family circumstances, but Jason and Bill were the best uncles he could wish for.