Tag Archives: DP challenge. postaday

Love, Letdown and Toffees

At eight, I discovered what it was to be in love. Gregory appeared at my school, one mid-term Monday, along with his older sister, Lesley. Gregory was a year older than me, good looking and had a way about him that exuded an intriguing worldliness. His brown hair, cut in a precise short back and sides, was perfect to my love -bleached eye as was his olive skin and lithe body. Awestruck, I set about making him mine.

At eight, love did not mean sex, heavy petting, not even a kiss. It was chaste yet frisson filled with an Aladdin’s cave of promise, a cavern, chock full of hidden passion, new feelings and intense desire. My stomach turned cartwheels, my heart pulsed blood warm lust. I spent my waking moments with Greg, talking about Greg and thinking about Greg. For a year we played school -yard games that were the carapace for adulthood.

Catherine’s birthday party was much anticipated every year because she, being, Mary, the head teacher’s daughter, had invited everyone, every boy and girl, from our tiny school. The sun shone, sashed party dresses blossomed with ballerina petticoats and shoes glinted with fresh polish. Even I, tomboy in mind and deed, allowed my mother to chintz my every pore. And although the net underskirt scratched my bare legs with talons of pure nylon, I thought Greg would like to see me pretty, girly and enticing. Rarely did I get to see him on a weekend so, for me, this was a personal celebration. A celebration marked, not by ribbon wrapped presents, but with the presence of true possibility.

Arriving first I gave Catherine her gift, watched her unwrap the Sindy doll I didn’t want and other pinkish presents, all the while keeping a weather eye on the front gate. Butterflies of anticipation battered my insides. I ran around to stop their wings from fluttering right through my skin.

“Greg’s here, “ Catherine said as I was twirled, blindfolded, to pin the tail on the donkey. “And Lesley and someone else.”

Twirling harder, I feigned indifference and pinned that tail, praying I looked magical and Greg could see the magic. He saw. The day was perfect, the ‘someone else’, only an older cousin and no threat. The party food was yummy and the games too. Pass the Parcel and What’s the Time Mr Wolf? provided opportunities aplenty to touch Greg. Touching him was my very favourite thing to do.

“Last game. It’s a treasure hunt,” the hostess shouted over the E number induced hubbub. “There are sweets hidden all over the garden. Off you go.”

Out we ran into a candy trove worthy of a Nutcracker kingdom. While others found and devoured their haul, I filled my pockets and with bulging hands, knowing I had done well.

“Mary says we can only have five sweets each, “ Greg stood in front of me flanked by Lesley and their cousin. They were all chewing and appeared to have only a few lollies left. “You have to share yours out.”

I shared my sweets with them. Gregory, Lesley and the cousin were collected. My father arrived for me.

“I think that was a stupid treasure hunt rule,” I said to my teacher as I thanked her for the party.

“What rule?” she asked.

“Only letting us keep five sweets each.”

“That wasn’t a rule,” she said. “You can have as many as you find. Who told you that?”

I couldn’t say his name. I couldn’t speak. I though I was going to be sick. Then I knew I was going to cry. The lump in my throat was so huge I couldn’t even swallow properly. When I did, out came the oddest, most embarrassing noise. I think it burst from somewhere near my broken heart.

I got to our car before the tears came and then they wouldn’t stop. My father pulled up at a Newtown dairy and bought a packet of Mackintosh’s Toffees. He thought I was crying about the sweets. He was trying to help but he had no idea.

no love replacement (thelollyshop.co.nz)
no love replacement (thelollyshop.co.nz)

I threw the bag of toffees out the window.

“Now, that was silly,” Dad said and set his jaw towards home.





















Weekly Photo Challenge (Inside)

I have been absent for a few weeks because I’ve been locked up, incarcerated, left inside desperate and, save for another headless mannequin (who I don’t even like) alone in an empty shop in Broadstairs.

I managed to get this snap in reflected image as a shaft of sunlight hit the curry house window opposite.

let me out (mrscarmichael)
let me out (mrscarmichael)

Weekly Photo Challenge (Treasure)

Every, every morning I treasure my coffee time. The process includes grinding Columbian beans, brewing the liquid gold in my Bialetti and sipping two or three cups, black, from a Lucie Rie masterpiece.

behold treasure, my pretties (mrscarmichael)
behold treasure, my pretties (mrscarmichael)

*The dark Lindt chilli chocolate is obviously treasured but not an every day indulgence.

**Coffee, cup, beans and cocoa posing on my marble topped Saarinen table – perfection.

Weekly Photo Challenge (Eerie)

Well, it would look great in an eerily haunted house……..

ghostly light (mrsca
ghostly light (mrscarmichael)

These are brilliant:

At the Show

Every year, when I was a child, Wellington’s Winter Show Buildings hosted an extravaganza of product display, inside, and kid’s fun out the back.

Without question it was the highlight of my winter, not only because I got to stay up late but because I could eat rubbish in the form of candy-floss, toffee apples and chips with my mother’s approval. I could go on rides. Multiple times. I could enjoy being frightened in the Ghost House and shaken to bits in the bowels of the Crazy House too. And I could scream as loud as I wanted and not be accused of being a scaredy cat.

now what? (mrs carmichael's mother)
now where? (mrs carmichael’s mother)

I could ride an exotic horse as it rose and fell with grace in a wide circle as the music played and my parents caught my smile every 360. I could ride the big, white, outside horse while my younger cousin B…. was relegated to the back stalls.

cousin B.... in the baby seats (mrs carmichael's mother)
cousin B…. in the baby seats (mrs carmichael’s mother)

I loved the Merry-Go-Round and still do. It’s still my favourite ride at any theme park. It’s a shame my daughters are too old to want to join me now.

mrs c on her white charger still taking the time to tell someone else what to do (mrs carmichael's mother)
mrs c on her white charger even then taking the time to tell someone else what to do (mrs carmichael’s mother)

Inside the Show Building’s was that year’s new fangled gadgetry that Mum and Dad made me look around before I was allowed outside.

There was also a lot of farm equipment as I recall. This was New Zealand and the 60’s and we were (and are) a farming nation.

I would drag my parents as fast as I could up and down the aisles displaying Fridgadaire’s latest freezing compartment, oven and washing machine, the newest record player on the block and bales of hay covered in ploughing and packing product.

I don’t think we bought our automatic washing machine at the Winter Show but I do remember Mother taking way too long discussing its pros and cons with a suited salesman. There were no cons apparently. We had the same one for the next sixteen years. It rusted but never broke down.

I could have cared less. I wanted to be outside in the real action getting sticky and coated in sugar.

Outside were the Kewpie dolls. Oh, still my beating memories. Every year I chose a Kewpie doll on a stick. Why were they on sticks? For decorative purposes only, I guess. Regardless I had to have one. And wish I still did.

blue tutu Kewpie on stick (xsentertainme.wordpress.com)
blue tutu Kewpie on stick (xsentertainme.wordpress.com)
Kewpie heaven (retrogoddes.blogspot.com)
Kewpie heaven (retrogoddes.blogspot.com)
back to the future (www.flickr.com)
back to the future and braver than me (www.flickr.com)

Dad would take me on the Dodgems. We called them Bumper Cars then and they looked subtly different to the models of today. I was too scared to drive which, looking back, probably pleased my father. He always liked driving.

And then there was the Ferris Wheel, the bane of my fair going experience. Every year Dad would suggest the Ferris Wheel and every year I would demur. The whole thing, thought and reality, terrified the red duffle coat off me. It still does. I don’t like Ferris Wheels and regret every one I’ve ever been pressurised onto. That frisson of fear unbounded, unlike the ‘terror’ of a house-full of ghosts. Even the London Eye makes me queasy. And that’s the truth.

In no way could the Winter Show compare to the theme parks of today. My children would laugh, I’m sure, at the paper hats and the paucity of rides but I still get butterflies when I see a Merry-Go-Round and remember those winter nights in July when I chose my steed and galloped in time to the music.

Posted for The Daily Post Weekly Writing Challenge: 1,000 Words.

Weekly Photo Challenge (Carefree)

Mrs Carmichael’s take on free of care with a very canine overbite.

Weekly Photo Challenge (The World Through My Eyes) A Rant About the Shard

If Mrs Carmichael could draw, design and manage the simplest mathematical problem she might, just might have been an architect.

I love good design and disagree vehemently with Prince Charles who views all things modern as ‘carbuncles’. Thank goodness he has a couple of hundred old houses/palaces/castles to live in then.

Any hoo, back to me and my love of new architecture.

London now boasts some amazing modern structures: lloyds; the Gherkin; City Hall to name but three.

But there is one that forces me to agree with Chaz. The Shard is the carbuncle of all carbuncles and punctures the London skyline with vicious and unkindly intent.

Shard softened by reflection (mrscarmichael)
Shard softened by reflection (mrscarmichael)

Here it is again.

stick this where the sun don't shine (mrsca
stick this where the sun don’t shine (mrscarmichael)

Through my eyes this is one ugly mother of an edifice and does nothing to make England’s capital city better, bigger, grander. To me it says;

“Here I am. Hark at me. I am rich and you are less so. ‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works ye mighty and despair.'”

The business men from Qatar who own this white elephant are struggling to fill both the office space (apparently the wrong shape for offices) and the floors allocated to £50,000,000 apartments too. At night it stands dark and unloved, save the extortionately priced viewing gallery and restaurant at the summit.

But to my mind it’s worse than this. I understand the Shard is the only structure to break St Paul’s wonderful sight lines which have been preserved for many a long year.

Blitz surviver (mrscarmichael)
Blitz surviver (mrscarmichael)

From Richmond, Primrose Hill, Greenwich, Blackheath and more Londoners should be able to see St Paul’s Cathedral in all its majestic (yes, Prince C, I agree with you on this landmark) glory.

And we have allowed a line to be broken. Shame on us.

I’ll let the prescient Percy Bysshe have the final word. I’ve got my fingers crossed.

‘Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.’