Princess Ruby and the Forest Animals

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Princess Ruby and the Forest Animals

By Nanny with the help of her grandchildren

Ethan and Morgan

Princess Ruby of Unicornia was cross. In fact Princess Ruby of Unicornia was VERY cross. It was her birthday and the one thing she wanted, more than anything else in the world, she hadn’t been given. She was a Princess for goodness sake; she should have everything that she asked for surely! Everyone she knew had the latest X-box after all!

“It’s not fair,’’ she moaned as she sat sulking in her bedroom, “even POOR people get what they ask for – but I’ll teach them, I’ll show them! I’ll run away and then they’ll be sorry!’’

Princess Ruby crept down the palace’s long spiral staircase, taking care not to step onto the creaky stair. She then ran out into the huge palace garden. She ran quickly across the lawn, past her tree house and into the shrubbery. On and on she ran until she came to a part of the garden she had never been into before, as it was out of bounds to her.

“So what,’’ she thought, “if they hadn’t be so mean to me I would have obeyed the rules! Why should I do what they ask when they don’t give me what I ask for!’’

On she ran, getting deeper and deeper into the forest, until soon she found tall trees surrounding her. Soon she became too breathless to go on any further, and so she stopped running and started to look around.

Not feeling quite as confident as she had earlier she sat down at the foot of a tree to think.

“I’ll just wait here for a little while until they miss me.’’ she said to herself. “It shouldn’t be long before they come looking for me.’’

She curled up in the leaves at the base of the tree to wait and it wasn’t long before she had fallen asleep!

Suddenly a noise awoke her and she noticed the sky that she could just glimpse above the tree-tops, was beginning to grow very dark. Feeling more than a little frightened she dug her mobile phone out of her pocket and decided that perhaps it was time for her to swallow her pride and to ring her parents for help.

“I suppose I’d better call them – although they can’t love me much if they haven’t missed me yet!’’ she mumbled to herself.

As she looked down she realised she hadn’t got a signal on her mobile phone! OH NO! What was she going to do now! She buried her face in her hands and began to cry softly and as she did so a rabbit popped his little head out of a hole nearby. Then another, followed by another, until she was surrounded by worried looking furry faces with twinkling black eyes.

An owl came to perch above her on the branch of the big tree. “Too-wit-Too-woo! What’s up with her,’’ he asked the rabbits.

“I don’t know,’’ said Rita the biggest rabbit, “but she sure makes a lot of noise! I was getting the little ones up ready for a scamper in the forest and heard her sniffing and sobbing.’’

“I’ll ask her,’’ whispered the deer, “she won’t be frightened of me, everyone loves Bambi.’’ Bambi walked slowly across to Princess Ruby.

“Hush my dear, what’s the matter?’’ spoke Bambi softly, as she brushed her brown velvety fur across the Princesses face to dry her tears, “Why are you crying?’’

The Princess told the animals how she had run away and become lost in the forest and they all sat around her feet listening to her story.

“Well,’’ cooed Dilly Dove “It sounds to me as if you are a bit spoilt my girl, no one can have everything they want and you seem to have plenty anyway.’’

“Too-wit-Too-woo!’’ hooted Olly Owl, “If my children behaved like you they would feel the back of my wing,’’ he said, his large golden eyes looking enormous in the moonlight.

“Oh, don’t be too cross with her,’’ said Betsy Badger, who had emerged from her set to see what all the noise was about. “My children are always doing silly things but they don’t mean to.’’

“We’ll look after you little girl,’’ Bambi said softly, “until someone comes to find you. We’ll let you share our food and keep you warm during the night if you snuggle into our furry coats.’’

Just then they all heard a noise!

“HIDE,’’ shouted Freddy Fox who had been standing on guard. “It’s Lumberjack Joe cutting down our trees and setting traps to capture us once again!’’

All the animals disappeared into their homes, while terrified Princess Ruby hid behind the big tree. Just then she heard a loud whisper right behind her.

“Shhh! Stay well hidden! Don’t move a muscle! Don’t worry about me, I’ll not harm you! My name is TomTom and I’m here to protect all the animals,’’ said an urgent voice in Ruby’s ear.

However the Princess had already let out a frightened squeal of surprise and Lumberjack Joe had heard her and had quickly approached her hiding place behind the tree!

Quick as a flash TomTom came from his hiding place and the two men stood facing each other. Lumberjack Joe was tall as a giant! He was ten feet tall with big bulging muscles, which were covered with tattoos. TomTom was much smaller and was no match for the giant but he had a big brave heart and was determined to protect the Princess and the animals at all cost.

“Leave the girl alone,’’ TomTom shouted, “she hasn’t done anything to you!’’

“Hahaha!’’  Lumberjack Joe’s wicked laugh echoed around the forest. “Don’t think you can frighten me little man!’’

TomTom lurched himself at Lumberjack Joe who threw him to the ground with one hand. TomTom got up and tried again but the giant was too strong for him. Again and again he tried but the giant only laughed at him!

Then there was a hum of wings as bats whizzed around the giants head, throwing him off balance. The Nightjar family also flew in from their hiding place, dropping their poo, which went into the giant’s eyes, so that he couldn’t see. Olly Owl swooped down next and with his vicious beak he attacked the giant!

With the air attack over the land animals came forward, beginning with Harry Hedgehog, who tried to prickle Lumberjack Joe’s bare feet – but Lumberjack Joe was far too quick for Harry and he kicked him high up into the air like a football.

Without a thought for her own safety Princess Ruby ran in to help Harry before he could be kicked again and she picked him up, not caring that his prickles dug into her fingers. All she knew was that Harry was squealing in pain and he needed her help! She wrapped him in her cardigan while she made him a nest from moss and leaves to lie in, while the foxes, baring their fierce teeth, guarded her. The deer family were very angry now that Harry had been hurt and they moved in, kicking and lashing out wildly with their strong hooves. A male deer rushed in to help, and by using his huge antlers he tossed the giant onto the air.

“Stop! Mercy! Please stop! Let me go!’’ pleaded the giant.

“Only if you promise to go away and never to return again,’’ shouted TomTom.

“I promise! I promise!’’ cried Lumberjack Joe as he lumbered off rubbing his bottom.

“You were wonderful, all of you!’’ smiled a delighted Princess Ruby, as she stroked Harry Hedgehog’s nose, “especially you TomTom. Your bravery saved us all!’’

The animals all crowded around TomTom cheering and shouting their thanks.

“We all worked together,’’ said brave TomTom, “I couldn’t have done it without you. I love you all!’’

Just then they all noticed that Princess Ruby had started crying again.

“What’s the matter,’’ said TomTom gently as he put his arm around her.

“I feel so awful TomTom. You all look after each other and protect each other and all I can do is run off because I don’t get my own way! I bet my parents are worried sick trying to find me – but I don’t know how to get home!’’

“Don’t worry Ruby, I’ll help you. You helped us too you know. I don’t know what would have happened to Harry if you hadn’t rushed in to protect him! I’m very good at finding my way, just leave it to TomTom. I’ll guide you back home if you’ll just tell me where you live Ruby?’’

Princess Ruby told him she was the Princess of Unicornia and she lived at the palace and after saying thank you and goodbye to all the animals, they set off.

You can imagine how pleased the King and Queen were to see their daughter safe and sound and how grateful they were to TomTom for rescuing her. They told him he could ask for anything he wanted as a reward.

TomTom thought hard. “Please, Your Majesty’s, could I ask for a ‘Laser Protection Zone’ around the forest, to protect the animals from any more cruelty. They helped your daughter to get home just as much as I did.’’

TomTom’s wish was granted – and because you can’t finish a fairy story without a happy ending, you will be pleased to know that the animals never saw Lumberjack Joe again and their forest was protected ‘by Royal Appointment’ from that day on. Princess Ruby and TomTom fell in love and they were soon married and all the animals and all the birds of the forest were invited to be ‘royal guests of honour’ at the wonderful wedding feast which was held at the Palace.

MORAL – Appreciate what you have!

The End

 

 

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A Walk around the Block.

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The trees begin to discard their robes of brown, and majestically transform themselves by donning new gowns of green. There are so many different shades that any artist can only envy, but never match. I set out on my walk along a route I have taken many, many times before and one which, as I grow older,  I seem  to see with different eyes.  The route I am taking is known as ‘Memory Lane’.

I begin my journey, on this beautiful May morning, right outside my front door. After a few yards and just before I reach the corner, I pass a group of maisonettes. As I stroll past them along this familiar and well-travelled path, I am transported back to a time before they were built. To a time when an old derelict cottage stood in their place, hidden behind its long-neglected garden of trees and shrubs. I remember treading softly, quickening my footsteps, hardly daring to breathe; fearing if I did so someone or something would jump out of the bushes and attack me! They never did of course, and as I walk on I smile at my own stupidity.

I turn left at the corner, following the path that runs down along the railway side, where the possibility of a steam train hurtling past still excites me! I hear the throaty sound of its whistle, the acrid smell of its smoke, the repetitive rhythm of its engine and I glimpse the driver as he reaches out to wave as he passes by!

I walk on, briefly glancing down ‘Conker Lane’, now sadly tarmacked but once a narrow path, lined with horse chestnut trees and blackberry bushes. I can’t conceal my grin as the juice-stained chins and purple fingers of my children flash across my memory. In their little hands they are clutching string-handled jam jars ready to collect frog spawn before their return home – but I am not going there today!

I see houses lining my route; each one was once identical to the next when the council owned them.  After the Thatcher era, when council residents were encouraged to buy their properties outright, each took on its own identity. Windows were changed and gardens block paved, in an attempt to prove to the world they were now individuals and proud ‘home owners’.

I now see dew-soaked, neatly clipped hedges where, on frosty mornings, my children would look for the intricately woven webs that spiders had created  during the night, hoping to see at their centre ‘Mrs Spider’, waiting to pounce on some unsuspecting insect for her breakfast!

I reach the shops. The Post Office is still there, so comforting to feel its familiar presence, as if time had stood still, even though its façade has changed many times. The butchers shop is also still there, now vastly expanded, as the family business has been passed down from father to son over the years. As I peer into its window, the enormous turkey that I collected at the crack of dawn each Christmas Eve, ready to be taken home and stuffed for the big day, comes into my mind.

I veer to the left and see before me my elder daughter’s first school.  I see her tear-stained face and recall her first day. I feel her little hands clinging onto my coat – and my guilt at having to unfurl her tiny fingers in order to hand her across to her teacher.

The old school building is, to my mind, beautiful. It was built in what is called the Butterfield Polychromatic style – which to the layman means different coloured bricks have been used to create patterns around its windows and doorways. It first opened as a school in 1870 but became a private home when, in 1978, the new purpose-built school grew up behind it.

Opposite the school is the park, where I walked my dogs after depositing my children safely into their teachers care. With no dogs in tow today I ignore the park and walk on past more houses, their residents now unknown to me. However  years ago, laughing, chattering, growing children would pile out of these houses and into my Mini – six in the back, two in the front,  plus me as taxi driver, without the safety of seat belts in those days, as I took my turn for the school run.

Another left turn takes me past larger houses with perfectly smooth, manicured, snooker table lawns. I pass the place where the old Smithy Cottage used to be. History recalls horses being shod there by the blacksmith, before continuing their journey towards Henley in Arden.

Now, my circuit nearly done, I am brought quickly back to earth as I see a building site: I see hod-carriers running up and down ladders and bricklayers and roofing contractors doing jigsaw puzzles on the roof. The most enormous crane carries its building materials dangling precariously in the air.  A ‘Retirement Home’ is to replace the horses that had once been ‘put out to grass’ in the field – although in many ways it will still be used for the same purpose, substituting ageing equine needs for those of the human variety!

My journey done, I arrive back at my cottage – and I listen. Once the only sound I would hear was birdsong or the occasional neigh of a horse. Now the Robins’ song is drowned by the continual drone of the distant Motorway and the frequent roar as yet another car revs its engine as it goes flying past, exceeding the speed limit!

I know I should expect some changes having lived here for over 40 years BUT …………..

But …….. if I close my eyes I can transport myself back to when it was a country lane, when the road had no curbs and where the air smelt of wild flowers instead of dust …. and people sauntered …. and my neighbour sold sweets and pop to passing children from her front room ….  and I relax and let it all wash over me – because even ‘progress’ can’t take my memories away!

The End

 

White Lilies and Pink Carnations

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He looked at her, his big brown eyes burning into her soul.

‘That will be £48 please sir,’ she stammered.

He smiled at her and handed her the money. Here stomach did something funny, it   sort of lurched – no – it somersaulted – and then he was gone. She gazed after him, lost for a moment in time, as she replayed the last ten minutes.

‘Earth calling Miss Millie Jones! Back down to earth please Miss Jones!’ said her   employer in a sing-song voice. Millie giggled; embarrassed to have been caught out and to have made it so obvious she had been bowled over by the handsome young man.

‘Sorry Mrs Carson. He wanted to order a bouquet of flowers for his mother’s birthday.’ She looked down at the order book and reread the note that she had made. ‘White lilies and pink carnations – to be delivered tomorrow morning.’

Mrs Carson peered over Millie’s shoulder as she read the address and smiled.

‘I think he may be out of your league young lady. His mother’s a prominent politician  and his father owns the big factory on the corner of Ryland Place. He went to Eton and then on to Cambridge.’

Milly shrugged her shoulders. ‘Just my flaming luck,’ she said sadly.

It was four months before she was to see him again.

She’d been asked by a girlfriend if she’d like to make up the numbers for a girly night out at a club in town. Of course she’d agreed – where else would she spend Saturday evening! She was fed up of staying in and watching The Voice with her parents – and she could wear her new red dress!

The evening started well. They were a fun crowd of girls and she felt comfortable in   their company. They laughed as they all danced together around their handbags and  then sat at one of the corner tables and ordered some drinks. A couple of hours seemed to fly by and then one of the girls laughingly said, ‘Hey girls, check out the talent!’ as a group of young men walked into the club.

Then she saw him and her heart flipped! He saw her at exactly the same time and he looked puzzled, obviously weighing up how he knew her.

‘That chaps looking at you Milly,’ said the girl sitting next to her, ‘Who is he?’

‘Never seen him before in my life,’ lied Milly.

She held her breath and her heart raced as she saw him making his way across the room to her.

‘Hi,’ he said, ‘how are you?’

‘I’m fine, how are you?’ she replied.

‘It was at the Dawson’s party, wasn’t it?’

‘That’s right,’ she lied again.

‘A good night that! Can I get you a drink?’

‘Oh, thanks,’ she said and got up to follow him across to the bar, her legs feeling as if they would buckle underneath her at any moment.

‘What’s your name? I don’t think we got that far before, did we?’

‘Millicent Jones – and yours?

‘Tommy, Tommy Osbourne. I recognised you the moment I walked in. I think you wore red the last time we met, didn’t you?’

There was that smile again, the one that sent her stomach into spasm.

‘So what’s your story Millicent? Where do you work – or are you at Uni?’

Her heart was beating wildly. How could she tell him that she was just a Saturday morning flower girl, otherwise unemployed! But before she knew it she had blurted out, ‘St. Andrews, I went to St. Andrews. I was there at the same time as Wills and Kate – but I can’t discuss it – sensitive – I’m sure you’ll realise that.’

Why – why, why, why – did she say that! He looked so impressed! She knew at that moment she was way out of her depth and couldn’t go back –  somehow she had to keep up the lie!

‘So where are you working now?’ he persisted.

‘I’m between jobs at the moment. How about you?’ she said quickly, trying to deflect the conversation back on to him and to gain thinking time.

‘My mum wants me to go into politics with her, and my dad wants me to go into the  family business with him! Parent’s eh! Hey, enough of work, we’re here to enjoy     ourselves, let’s dance!’

Milly – or Millicent as he called her, stayed ‘between jobs’ for the next month, side-stepping every conversation about work – or lying about it.

They enjoyed each other’s company very much and gradually became closer until she knew it wouldn’t be long before he would expect to be invited to meet her parents – to be invited into her home – into her two bedroom, council house home on the other side of town – the rough side.

She’d been on the internet and looked up his politician mum and his computer company dad. She had found out where they lived – in the poshest road – on the poshest side of town – where all the houses cost well over a million quid!

How could she invite him back to her shack! What would he think of her parents? They weren’t high flying business people! Her dad worked on the production line at   the car factory a few miles away and her mom took in washing and ironing and did a bit of cleaning. They didn’t even have a car! She’d told him they were away skiing – but they couldn’t stay away forever! She always got him to drop her off outside her friend’s house – told him she was staying with them while her parents were away, so couldn’t invite him in.

One Saturday he picked her up from outside Marks and Sparks’s in town. He hadn’t  yet twigged she always had some excuse ready meaning she had to be picked up in town and then dropped back at her friends – but he would any day now, and she knew it, and dreaded it.

He opened the car door for her and she got in and as they drove off he said, ‘I’ve just got to pop back home to give dad a file he needs to look at before tomorrow morning. It won’t take a minute.’

When they drove up the long drive to his home, Milly couldn’t believe her eyes. It was the most beautiful house she had ever seen. It was far better than all the posh houses she had seen in the magazines at the dentist.

The next blow hit her as he parked the car outside and said, ‘Come in and meet the  folk. I won’t be long, just need to give Dad this.’ He held up a file.

‘No, I’ll stay in the car and wait. They’ll be busy. I can’t just muscle in on them.’

‘Don’t be daft! You don’t know my folk! They’d give me hell if they knew I’d left you outside in the car and hadn’t taken you in to meet them. Come on.’

He got out and she reluctantly followed him up the steps to the front door. After   giving her a quick peck on the cheek, he opened the door and ushered her inside. The hallway was bigger than the whole of Millie’s house! Her heels sank into the thick pile rich red carpet. An ornate marble table stood proudly in the centre with a   chandelier hanging above it. She was shaking as she followed him across the hall to some double doors and as she walked into the room both his parents rose up smiling to greet her.

‘Hello Millicent, we’re very pleased to meet you at last! We’ve heard so much about  you!’ said his father.

Milly felt as if she should curtsy but restrained herself and just held out her hand.  They laughed – and went in and kissed her on both cheeks!

‘I hear your parents are away Millicent,’ said his mother, ‘you must come here for supper one evening. You could stay in the guest room if you like.’

‘Thank you,’ she managed to whisper, ‘that’s very kind of you.’

‘We’re not staying Mum – just needed to give Dad this file for his meeting tomorrow  morning. We are off now for dinner at The Russell. Have you been there lately?’

‘We ate there last week with the Sandersons darling – it was as delicious as ever. Give Marco my love – and don’t let him rush you off next time Millicent!’

‘I won’t,’ said Milly, backing towards the door.

‘Let me out of here!’ she thought as she clasped the door handle between sweaty fingers.

After that evening Milly knew that things couldn’t go on the way they were. She really, really, really liked him and she knew that he also had feelings for her. It wasn’t fair to let him live this lie and she knew she must end it. She’d dug herself in so deeply and told so many lies that he would never forgive her – and she couldn’t bear to see the look of disgust in those beautiful brown eyes when she told him the truth! So, totally ashamed of herself, she sent him a text telling him it was all over – telling him that she had met someone else!

The next few weeks were dreadful. All she could think about was Thomas. She looked dreadful, with dark yellow circles under her eyes from crying. Her friends were all worried about her – and she hadn’t been able to tell her parents about him at all. How could she tell them she was ashamed of her own home? How could she be so ungrateful to two people who had given up so much for her? She hated herself!

Then, one Saturday, while she was working in the florists, a young lady walked in.  She’d never seen her before but she thought she reminded her of someone.

‘I would like to order a bouquet of flowers please,’ said the young lady. ‘White lilies  and pink carnations?’

‘Yes certainly. When would you like them for?’

‘As soon as possible please.’

‘Would you like to write a card?’

‘Well, I’m ordering for a friend of mine and they have already written a card, if you  could attach it please?’

‘No problem, I’ll see that it’s put on the flowers for you.’

The young lady paid her and then left the shop.

‘What is it Milly? What do they want?’ called Mrs. Carson.

‘Lilies and carnations, Mrs Carson – ASAP. And they’ve left a card here to go on them.’ Milly shouted back.

Within the next hour Mrs Carson had made up the most beautiful bouquet of flowers that Milly had ever seen.

‘Could you possibly deliver these for me Milly? It’s not very far away.’

‘Of course Mrs. Carson, I’ll go now.’ Milly took the flowers and then looked at the   address – and she frowned.

‘Mrs Carson I think there’s been some sort of mistake. The address says ‘The Flower  Shop High Street. That’s here!’ She then looked up and saw Mrs Carson smiling at her.

‘I’m sorry Milly, but I’m afraid I told him the truth. I couldn’t bear seeing you both so  unhappy!’

Milly then turned the card over and read:-

 MILLY, I LOVE YOU! I DON’T CARE  WHERE YOU LIVE! PLEASE COME                                                       BACK TO ME! ”T”

THE END

 

In the beginning

I began writing three years ago when hearing loss forced me to retire from teaching drama. It also meant I had to give up acting at the Little Theatre company I had belonged to for forty years. Having used the words of others in both of these capacities I decided to attempt to fill this enormous gap by penning some words of my own. I was lucky enough to find a brilliant creative writing group with a wonderful teacher and I now write each day. My newfound hobby has become something of an addiction! It seems sensible to put all my work in one place – hence this blog!

The Tell-Tale Sign of His Jaw

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My Dad was a very quiet man
Who rarely lost his rag,
He worked in a gun-making factory,
All he asked was to smoke his fag
Or to read the ‘Sports Argus’
Or listen to the wireless,
He didn’t ask for much in life
Just enough money to provide for us.
Each Friday evening he’d come home
And present Mom with his pay,
She’d take out what she’d need to shop
Then pass pocket money his way.
My Dad was a staunch ‘Labour’ man, Mom a devoted ‘Tory’,
She and her family were ‘a united front’,
I could often hear their war games.
As I snuggled down in my bed at night,
Secretly proud of Dad’s solo fight,
As he argued what he thought was right
Long, long into the night!
Though I knew nothing of their talk
Because he fought alone,
I was always on his side
And his arguments I’d condone.
We visited Grannies each weekend
Gathering round the gramophone
And sang our favourite songs of the day –
But Dad always seemed so alone.
From my hiding place under the table I saw
(As I peeped from under the table cloth)
The tell-tale sign of Dad grinding his jaw
(Something I’d seen many, many times before)
And I willed him and willed him to stop!
Was he intimidated by their united front?
Why wasn’t he comfortable in their home?
Or did he feel inferior because he didn’t fight on the front,
Was that why he felt so alone?
I wish I’d asked him at the time,
It’s only in hindsight we see
That our parents are just ordinary folk,
With their own insecurity.
My Dad has been dead now for many a long year
(Since nineteen eighty four)
Why is it only now that I question
The tell-tale sign of his jaw?

*****

The Lady in the Gainsborough Hat

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(A memory recalled by my father)

A lady came to our house
When I were but a lad.
She used to drive an horse an’ cart
And she wore a Gainsborough hat.
In her hand she carried
The most enormous sword,
That she used to slaughter animals with –
Though she never spoke a word.
Each time she drove in through our gate
My heart was filled with fear –
‘Cause I knew those lambs and piglets
(That I had got to rear)
Were going to be butchered!
I know Dad had to sell
Their meat to make a living –
But I dreaded their death knell!

*****

Today is Different

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(My first memory)

Today is different, I feel it!
Is it excitement or is it fear?
Slowly, I walk alongside my mother’s bicycle.
She chats – I feel her apprehension.
We finally reach our destination
(A red brick house, quite small)
I go inside, holding her hand tightly –
Or is she tightly holding mine, fearful to let go?
*****
I am taken into a room – a lady smiles!
My hand is passed across to hers.
I don’t want to go but I know that I must
And I watch as mother disappears into the distance.
Now others appear, all reluctant as I, all passed across and confused.
We do not speak – but we know fear binds us.
We sit down, with big, round, staring eyes.
We bite out top lips to inhibit our cries.
‘I will not cry. I will not look a fool!’
‘Welcome’, she says, ‘to your first day at school!’

*****