I started writing when I was in my early teens. It helped me get through some very tough times. My early childhood was terrifying, but thats a story for another day.
I was born with at turn in my eye, I didn’t even realize I had it when I was a young child, but as I got older, it began to ruin my life. Back in the sixties there was a TV series called Daktari, which was about a vet in Africa. One of the animals in the series was a lion called Clarence It was crosseyed. As an eleven year old girl I remember the boys in my village chanting “Daktari” every time I walked by. They never used my real name when they talked to me, but called me Clarence like the lion. It broke my heart. Luckily for me, during a routine visit to the doctor, he noticed the turn in my eye. “Wouldn’t you like to get that fixed?” he asked. “Yes please!” I had the operation just before I started High School. Of course some of those kids still called me Clarence, but it didn’t really matter anymore because the offending eye had been straightened. My eye was red and scarred for a couple of months. The scars on the inside were there for a lot longer. Life never lived up to my expectations back then and I rebelled against everything. I was obviously a troubled teenager, but back in the sixties in rural northern England, you just had to grin and bear it. Thats when I started to write. I wrote a different life for myself. I don’t have any of those stories now, but remember them well. They weren’t all about love and happiness, but they were about me, and I was strong. Writing is my therapy. I’ve written a couple of books I’m fairly proud of, with three more in the works. I’m an old girl now so I hope I live long enough to finish them all.
“Tess, where are. You?” You just shooed me away, now you are calling my name. I’m going back to bed. Sandra worried when she couldn’t see Tess anymore and finished her shower quickly. “Oh, there you are. Sleepy dog!” I’m not sleepy, I’m bored. “I need to get ready for work.” I’ve heard the work word before, I don’t like it. “OK time to make the bed and get the spare room ready for you, I really hope you’ll be alright on your own all day.” Once she’d covered the bed with Tess’s fluffy blanket, she threw toys around the room and made sure Tess’s bowls contained enough water and dried food to last the day. I know what’s going on now, you’re getting ready to leave me alone aren’t you. Just me, with no Fendi to keep my company, just me. All alone! “Oh dear, I don’t like doing this! Come on Tess, one more quick walk before I go.” Rabbits! Let’s find some rabbits! It was a very quick walk because Tess watered the grass as soon as they got outside. “Good Dog! Now I really need to leave for work.” I don’t want to go back inside. I want to play with rabbits. Tess had to be coaxed back through the front door. Sandra found one of the puppy toys you could hide treats in and put something in the shape of little chickens inside it. Tess picked up the scent immediately and followed her closely, until the got to the stairs, and then she had to be carried. “Oh Tess, I’m sorry I have to do this.” Sandra rolled the treat filled toy across the room. Tess ran after it immediately. Sandra shut the door and hurried downstairs. Silence! “Phew.” She got into her car and went to work!
This is my first children’s story. Inspired by Tess, a cute pup that belongs to my daughter and son in law. I looked after her for three weeks back in January 2020, before the world was turned upside down. It was an experience for me, never having taken care of a dog before. She won my heart and I found myself leaving work as early as possible because I worried about her. COVID/Trump/2020 sucked me dry. I had no imagination left. What spare time I had was spent getting my US house ready to sell. My heart ached because, although I really wanted to move to Italy, I was sad to leave my daughter and her pups behind. I was sad because I would be leaving my job and all of my friends, but it was time. Now I’m writing again and as I re-read Queen Tess – A short Shaggy Dog Tale, I realize I wasn’t capturing her character. She was a baby when she stayed with me. I had portrayed her as a much older dog. Now, as I re-write the story, I’m making her childlike, which of course she is. The re-write is fun. I laugh out loud sometimes as I remember the things she did. When my book is finished, what next? Who knows, maybe back to thrillers, or perhaps a travel story. Thanks for stopping by, I hope you’ll visit again! Stay safe.
Yes, I’m finally writing again! I must finish this Children’s book. It’s dedicated to my beautiful daughter, her husband and TessMess, the fluffy bundle of cuteness that is part of their family now. Fendi, the older, smarter and not so patient pup in chief, should get a mention too. I usually write supernatural thrillers, but this is fun! Below is a taster of Queen Tess – a short shaggy dog tale.
An irresistible aroma wafted into Tess’s nostrils. She stood motionless, watching the slim slivers of delicious meat being peeled from the plastic. Hey, I’m right here, right next to you, don’t forget me. Tess stood on her hind legs, but still wasn’t able to reach the countertop. Hello, puppy dog eyes, right below you. Look at me. “Perfect, I feel like I’m in Italy again.” Sandra said as she wrapped the meat and put it back in the fridge. Tess rubbed against her legs. Hungry pup down here. “Tess you can’t possibly be hungry!” Why not, you are. Woof! “Hey quiet, no need to make a fuss. OK, just a bit though, I’m not even sure if you can eat prosciutto. Don’t want to make you sick.” Tess, who had already gone through the motion of sitting and lying down, now stood on her hind legs and placed her front paws on Sandra’s knees. Her mouth was wide open in anticipation. gimme, gimme, gimme Sandra put the prosciutto back on the counter top and carefully tore a couple of small, thin slivers from the meat. She dangled them above Tess’s nose before letting them drop into her mouth. “You are a good little pup aren’t you!” You’re not so bad yourself lady!
“Tess, good girl, you peed. Good girl.” Oh Lordy, of course I peed, don’t make such a fuss. Does anyone make a fuss of you when you pee? They continued to walk. “I could get used to this, it’s nice having company while I walk. Wait, what are you doing now? Oh no, dog poop.” Tess squatted a little and did what all good dogs do at least once a day. She looked up guiltily, or was she smiling. Sandra put her hand in her pocket and pulled out the special green plastic bag that was used for this purpose. She gingerly scooped up the fresh poop, tied a knot in the bag and held it at arm’s length. “Oh no Tess, its warm, let’s get rid of this now, yuk, it smells.” Tess stood still and looked up at the dangling bag of poop. Lady, I just pooped, isn’t that why we came outside?
Wow! For a few minutes this morning I have time to sit and reflect on my life. I’m 63 and a budding writer! I was born in County Durham, raised in North Yorkshire (Brompton on Swale). When I was 20, I got married and moved to Dorset. In my late thirties I moved with my husband and daughter to Colorado. Now this old girl is retiring and moving to Abruzzo, Italy! I’ve been around a bit! In a little over a month I’ll be sitting at the kitchen table of my new home, looking at the view and easing another story from my old, but overactive brain…I hope you’ll read it.
Woah, what do I smell, sniff sniff… What’s that? If I stand perfectly still, it won’t see me. Now I’m going to walk very slowly and maybe I can catch that fluffy little thing. It isn’t paying any attention to me at all. Alright here I go. Ahhhh!
Sandra tugged on the leash, “Come on Tess, we’re out here so you can pee, not bother the rabbits.”
Rabbit, that’s what it’s called? Alright, be quiet now, I’m going to play with the rabbit, slowly, slowly…going to get you…
Tess launched herself like a missile. Who knew the chubby bundle of silliness could move SO FAST!
“Tess, stop, I almost let go of your leash. I’d be in trouble if you got away.”
Tess watched in dismay as the rabbit disappeared into the thicket. It turned around to look at its pursuer.
“Ha ha, can’t get me now can you?”
I nearly had you.
Yes, I know, this isn’t my usual demented ghost tale, bit I see a story in everything. From the time I get out of bed in the morning, my world is a narrative, so writing about my experience with taking care of Tess came natural. I really hope someone enjoys it. Children’s stories are fun.
I decided to amuse myself and write a children’s book while taking care of Queen Tess…lets see how it goes.
A Shaggy Dog Tale
Tess is a champagne colored bundle of fun. She’s a little chubby (puppy fat), and very young. Tess uses her big dark puppy dog eyes to her best advantage, and they are almost impossible to resist, even if you’re not a dog person. She lives with Fendi, Jo and Christian. Fendi is a pensioner in dog years, very smart, but a little grumpy and doesn’t have much patience with young Tess. Jo and Christian work very hard and every so often need a vacation. They love their pups dearly, too much to leave them with strangers, so when they decided to go on a Ski trip to Japan (who knew you could ski in Japan?). Tess, and Fendi got a vacation of their own. Fendi went to Steamboat Springs to stay with Christian’s parents, and Tess went to stay in Franktown with Jo’s mum, also known by both dogs as “The Treat Lady”.
I have so much trouble focusing these days. I say this because I’ve written nothing in a couple of weeks.
“Lingering Evil” lingers without much progress!
It isn’t deserted or forgotten, but when writing is a struggle, you have to leave it until it flows.
My day job keeps me busy. My home in Italy is always on my mind. It’s the “Holiday” season in the US so there is always something going on.
Longing for the day I retire. I can rise early, drink my cappuccino and look out of my window at the beautiful village of Colledimezzo. There is no question in my mind that this will inspire me to write. I think a lot more stories will emerge too!