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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Lady and the Lemon Meringue



It is hard to say when it began. Mainly as it is impolite to speak with your mouth full. But it was the best of lemon meringues and it was – well, still pretty good. Even though it was one of her off days. Or if the lemons were past their best and the meringue refused to stiffen. Although, it was said at the time - by those who knew – that nothing would refuse to stiffen under her ministrations.

However, such musings were best left to those in the know. The rest of us could only stand and admire her wrist action.... and dream.

There were those who said too, that such fantastic lemon meringues were beyond mere human capabilities. That she was some supernatural being far beyond the mere mortal. Some thought her one of the woodland spirits that know the secrets of the fruit and the wondrous bounties of nature, and how to combine them to enslave and enthral us mere humans.

Others, though, spoke of the food of the gods. If anything on this Earth could lay claim to being such, then it was one of her lemon meringues. Those, of course, believed that she was some goddess, walking among us to bring us a taste of what humanity could aspire to. So when – at long last – we threw off these earthly shackles and the mortal concerns we bind ourselves with - we could take our rightful place in the heavens of the gods.

Those of a more prosaic nature claimed it was what the spoon was invented for.

The rest of us queued formally and in reverence for our portions. We offered our thanks and sat down with our own slice of heaven here on earth, hoping it would never end and our bowls would never empty.


[Books by David Hadley are available here (UK) or here (US).]

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Make a Wish


Well, I mean, you would, wouldn’t you?

If you got the chance, you would definitely give it a go, wouldn’t you?

I mean we’ve all sat there daydreaming about what we would do should some fairy godmother, some genie freed from a bottle or someone like that, offered us the three wishes so beloved of fairy tales.

Be careful what you wish for, as some wise old geezer once said… and me? 

Well, I can only agree.

Of course, like everyone else when she appeared in front of me in a shower of sparkling stars and multicoloured smoke - like some cheesy no-budget local TV ad from the 70s - I responded as anyone else would.

Bollocks,’ I said.

She sighed and dusted some of the ash from her costume. A costume that was, I noticed immediately, somewhat diaphanous and see-through in all the places it is impolite to look.

What are you staring at?’

Sorry,’ I said. ‘Only you are a very attractive woman.’

Woman? Pah!’ She waved her wand dismissively. She looked down at herself and tutted. ‘Only it is the traditional costume… and they are sticklers for tradition. The union have been on to them about it, about our dignity in the workpla….’ She looked back up at me. ‘Anyway, I’m not a woman, I’m a fairy.’

A fairy… bollocks They don’t exist… they are only fairy stori….’

She strode up to me and tapped me on the chest with her wand. ‘That feel real enough to you, sonny?’

I flinched, stepping back. The star on its end was very pointy. I looked down to see a hole in my shirt.

Anyway, I’m your fairy godmother.’

Bollo… er…. Aren’t you a bit young?’

What are you saying?’

Er…. Nothing. I just. We’ll, I must be older than you?’

And?’

Well, y’know… Godmother. I would that would have entailed some age difference, like that of a parent to a child… mother and child.’

She stared at me. ‘You humans are so weird.’ She straightened her… her dress, what there was of it. ‘Anyway, I’m a bit pushed. There’s a pumpkin over in Watford I’ve got to turn into a Porsche, and her from over Bristol way has called in sick this morning… again. So, I’m going to have to cover her shift… again.’ She glared at me. ‘So get on with it, I haven’t got all day.’

Er…?’

What now?’

What am I supposed to be getting on with…. I… er?’

Three wishes.’

What?’

She pulled a tablet computer out of what appeared to be thin air. ‘It says here you have three wishes due…. So, get on with it. My time is valuable you know.’

Er….’

Three wishes…, come on.’ She tapped the wand against her thigh.

It was then all my troubles began.




[Books by David Hadley are available here (UK) or here (US)]

Monday, April 21, 2014

A British Sporting Great


Well, these days the name of Binomial Herbidacious is little known outside the sport of running about for a bit for no real reason. But back in her heyday Herbidacious was a leading contender for Olympic gold in the British team at the Carlisle Olympics of 1876. A remarkable achievement, especially since the Olympic games would not begin for another twenty years. But one of Herbidacious's great strengths was her starting speed out of the blocks.

In fact, it was reading of Binomial Herbidacious's talents that got a young Albert Einstein interested in both the speed of light and the effects of gravity. Mainly as Herbidacious was competing well before the invention of the dedicated sports bra and was a lady of generous frontage. In fact, several competitors in races against her, complained that Herbidacious already had an advantage of a few yards before the race even began. Many said she could win a close race even with most of herself still behind her opponents.

Her talent was first noticed at school, even though during those strict Victorian days it was not regarded as proper for young ladies to exert themselves physically. Especially as most of them needed a long lie down after divesting themselves of their very restrictive Victorian corsets.

In her infant and junior school years, Herbidacious was unbeaten at the egg and spoon race. She won it every year on her school's annual sports days. But disaster struck when she moved up into secondary school and her physical development made it impossible for her to keep her egg in her spoon without her generous proportions knocking the egg from the spoon. Nor could Herbidacious herself even see if her egg had fallen from her spoon without the aid of a mirror.

Her heartbreak was short-lived however as her sports mistress took a keen interest in Herbidacious and her physical development. In fact, in her autobiography Herbidacious credited her sports mistress and Herbidacious's attempts to evade her attentions, especially in the showers, as a major factor in Herbidacious's remarkable powers of acceleration from a standing start.

Lately, there have been calls to make this great sportswoman of an earlier age into a figure of national pride and importance. So that is why the current government, ever eager to boost their populist credentials, have decided that a statue to this leading figure in the UK's sporting development should be erected.

They promise to commission a statue as soon as they can afford to pay for the sizeable amounts of bronze needed to full realise Herbidacious and her spectacular assets at anything near life size. So naturally the government is looking to the public to make generous donations to the statue fund. The government has pledged to match out of funds it has already appropriated from the public, thus making us all pay twice – and probably well over the odds as usual with any government project.

So please give generously to support this monument to this country's great sporting heritage.



[Books by David Hadley are available here (UK) or here (US).]

Sunday, April 20, 2014

When Gods Are Made


Thursday?’

Thursday.’

Why Thursday?’

It is the only one we have left. You should have been here for the meeting.’ The Goddess shuffled the papers on her desk without looking up at him. ‘Nobody else wanted it.’

Why not?’

The Goddess shrugged. ‘I don’t know… personally I’ve never liked Tuesdays….’ She looked up at him. ‘Anyway, from now on Thursday will be known as Plunkday. All right?’

Plunk nodded. Of the many things he’d wished for over his short but troubled life none of them had involved either being a… the weather god, or having a day of the week named after him.

Now he had both.

The Goddess smiled brightly. ‘Happy?’

No.’ Plunk shrugged. ‘I wasn’t happy before… before all this….’ He looked around at the strange room the Goddess called her office. ‘But now I’m unhappy and dry, rather than unhappy and wet, so I’m not complaining, mind.’

The only other room Plunk had ever seen called an office was also… in politer company known as the privy. So, he had been a little perturbed when the Goddess first said she wanted him to meet her in her priv… her office.

Even now he was a bit suspicious of the rather luxurious and comfy seat she was using. But it did swivel and Plunk took a little comfort in the idea that few people… or even gods, for that matter, would want a swivelling privy seat… or would they? 

He didn’t know any more.

This becoming a god… becoming the new weather god… was turning out to be much more complicated than he imagined.

The Goddess pushed a piece of paper across the table she called her desk towards him. ‘Sign here.’

What?’

She tapped the piece of paper at the end closest to Plunk. ‘Sign here.’

How?’

You know just write your na….’ She looked at him ‘You can’t write can you?’

Plunk shook his head. ‘Not much call for it, herding ducks.’



[Books by David Hadley are available here (UK) or here (US)]

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Roadside Experiments


Well, there she was. Which was not ideal, for if she was over here then I wouldn't have had to shout against a background of heavy traffic noise. So, I believe she can hardly be blamed for any of the subsequent misunderstandings, except of course the incident with the weasel.

However, the weasel is now receiving intensive trauma counselling, so it is possible that later a line may be drawn under that particular aspect of the experience.

Although, current psychological evidence does suggest that the weasel may never be fully at ease... ever again. Especially in the near vicinity of a cheese and sweet pickle baguette.

However, such setbacks should not divert us from the bigger picture and the great advances made in our understanding of human sexuality. In particular how it relates – or not – to the lay-by. Especially during the early evening rush hour.

As well, of course, as the significant increase in our understanding of cheese and sweet pickle-related trauma in impressionable young weasels. A subject which, I'm sure you will agree, modern science has woefully left unresearched. Even despite the more than generous research funds available from the EU for such vital research.

Anyway, so there she was dressed in the full leather outfit and ready for our research project to begin. At least, until the police patrol arrived and insisted we erect the barriers to avoid distracting the passing drivers. In particular the drivers heavy goods vehicles. The police claimed there was a possibility of us causing a severe road accident when the aforesaid driver became aware of a rather under-dressed young lady striking nubile posses in a lay-by near Redditch. Which, if you have ever driven around Redditch will make you understand why those drivers were in dire need of any distraction available.

Still. The erection of several large cricket sight-screens in a lay-by did cause more inconvenience, we are sure – than any provocatively-dressed young lady would have done. Consequently, the entire lay-by was soon full of haphazardly-parked vehicles as their drivers stopped to see what was going on.

This, unfortunately, meant that any results we gathered from our research immediately became invalidated by the crowds of observers. For as we all know the nubility index of any young lady is often erratically perturbed by the number of observers present.

Therefore we had no alternative but to abandon the experiment for that day.
However, we plan to try again, but this time somewhere in the vicinity of Luton where – it is said – drivers are immured to all roadside distractions, no matter how provocative.

However, we shall have to wait for our experimental confirmation of this sometime in the near future before it can be stated without equivocation or the possibility of statistical error.



[Books by David Hadley are available here (UK) or here (US).]

Friday, April 18, 2014

Couldn’t Stand the Weather


It was cold.

It was wet.

It was normal.

Plunk looked up at the sky, the clouds were grey. The bits of the sky were there were no clouds were grey too. There was a slightly lighter grey over where Plunk assumed the sun would be. ‘Bloody weather.’ He spoke without rancour or hostility, just stating a fact. He gathered his cloak around him and shoved at the door with his shoulder.

The damp-swollen door shuddered open and the cold wind threw a handful of rain straight into Plunk’s face. ‘Bugger,’ he said, again more as a statement of fact than a curse. He’d given up cursing the weather the day they’d found and killed the weather god. Plunk didn’t think there was much point in cursing the weather now there was no god to listen, but old habits do die hard… much as weather gods die, come to that. Plunk’s mouth tried to remember how to smile at the memory as he trudged head down through the puddles and the wind-thrown rain towards his barn.

Plunk couldn’t remember whether the weather was better before they’d killed the weather god, as some staunch religionists claimed. Somehow he doubted it, gods, like lords, like kings and everyone else who managed to grab some power – to Plunk’s mind – were all the same. As long as they were warm and dry and had all the food, drink and women their wealth and power could get them, then they couldn’t give a stuff for ordinary folk.

Plunk opened his barn door and smiled at his flock of ducks, who - contrary to local folklore - seemed more than happy to be inside out of the rain.

There was a rustle and she emerged from the stacked hay on the hayloft above his head. Plunk grabbed for his hayfork. ‘Who are you?’

She floated down the ladder, her feet not appearing to step on the rungs. ‘Don’t you recognise me, Plunk?’

Ye… y… Yes, Goddess,’ Plunk felt his knees bending as he pulled his cap from his head. ‘What do you want with me?’ He risked a glance up from his lowered eyes.

As you may know, our weather god had… a bit of an accident.’

Plunk nodded, not looking up, as his hands worried and wrung his rain-soaked cap.

The Goddess reached out and lifted his chin. Her hand was soft, warm and dry. She looked into his eyes. ‘We have decided, the next weather god… it is going to be you.’

Oh, shit,’ Plunk said.



[Books by David Hadley are available here (UK) or here (US)]

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Watching Paint Dry


After an initially uncertain start in the ratings, it looks as though the UK's latest celebrity-based reality show is now going from strength to strength.

Celebrity Watching Paint Dry (CWPD) has already come to dominate the early Saturday evening viewing schedules with an almost five-to-one lead over its nearest celebrity reality show rival, AntnDec's Celebrity Lawn Watching. A programme deliberately placed against CWPD in the vital early evening weekend viewing schedules.

The host of CWPD, the irrepressibly smug centenarian all-round entertainer Undercoat Slapdash is credited with making the show such a success. Of course, allied with the almost unbearable tension of watching celebrities, usually with the attention span of a bewildered gnat (unless looking in a mirror), stare at a wall of drying paint for as long as they are able.

Most of the show's viewers put its overwhelming success down to the fact that watching paint dry is far more riveting than watching anything else currently on our TV screens. So they find the entire spectacle of glamorous people watching paint drying in exotic foreign locations really exciting. This is despite the viewers seeing very title of those locations behind the freshly-emulsioned walls. All while Slapdash's voice-over allows the celebrities to tell – in their own monosyllables – of the amazing emotional roller-coaster journey standing in front of that still-tacky paint job takes them on.

Although, now there are rumours that the show's great rival, AntnDec's Celebrity Lawn Watching, is – in its new series – about to unveil a re-jigged format. One where its celebrity's watching the growing laws of some of their closet celebrity friends and greatest rivals. All of which, the channel promises, will make their show the must-see programme every weekend. Particularly as viewers are bound to be fascinated by the lawns of the rich and famous.

However, only time will tell which of these great examples of the TV programme-makers art will survive and prosper in the cut-throat world of TV entertainment.



[Books by David Hadley are available here (UK) or here (US).]