Sunday, 25 March 2012

Fairies and Stories and Lions made from Wool

I am afraid I am still having little giggles of a very immature, not to say childish manner, over some bits and bobs I read in the papers yesterday. I think these silly things have been specially put into the papers to cheer up us Scorpios who are still recovering from the chaos, nay trauma, of the Grand Trine House Party Experience of last week.

The best giggle goes to the name of a mistress of a Duke of Britain, the story of whom is causing a minor scandal in the red-top rags at the moment. His name was something ordinary and dukey, like Edward, or James or something. But her name? Jeannie McWheeny! I kid you not. I'm sorry, but reading that caused me to snort into my cup of tea. And then it caused me to think of writing a children's story based on a little tiny fairy-type creature called Jeannie McWheeny-Tweeny who lives in the sporran of a wee Scottish lassie called Joanie McWoany, who, because she lives in Scotland where there is a dearth of light, warmth and sunshine, is in a constant state of depression. And that her depression lifts when fairy Jeannie McWheeny-Tweeny emerges from the sporran releasing a huge shiny ray of sunshine and warmth. A bit like having your own portable light-box.

Well, it got me thinking about focusing on writing again, which has been let slip over the last few weeks mainly due to the exhaustion of teaching all day, getting involved in after-school drama activities and being fatefully caught up in a Grand Trine. So I went to Waterstones yesterday and bought a book of writing activities to get me back in the saddle so to speak. (I also bought the follow up book to 'The Morville Hours' which is called 'The Morville Year' which is a stonking good read and makes me want to move to Hereford/ Shropshire even more.)

'What about the article on the regional celebrations of the 'Lympic Games?' says Mrs Pumphrey.

Mrs Pumphrey has come into the Manor kitchen to assist in the extracting of the honey from the supers we brought home yesterday. Her method involves sitting beneath the colander with some bread and butter, catching the honey as it drips on the aforesaid bread and butter and then eating the bread and butter in the manner of a chicken who hasn't been fed for a fortnight.

'I was coming to that,' I say.
'Tell them about the three enormous crocheted lions,' says Mrs P.
'Well, you've just spoiled the story,' I say, crossly.
'Shall I carry on whilst you de-cross yourself?' says Mrs Pumphrey.
'Yes,' I say.

'Well,' says Mrs Pumphrey, 'Britain has been divided into twelve regions and each region has developed an arts project to celebrate the 'Lympic Games in July. And one region, I forget which, has decided its art project will be the crocheting of three enormous lions.'

'The story appears to have lost its sense of surprise and appeal,' I say, wearily.
'But you haven't heard what Mrs S and I are planning as our cultural arts event for the 'Lympics,' says Mrs Pumphrey. 'I think I'm going to stop eating honey now. I feel a bit sick.'
'Very wise,' I say. 'So what is the Much Malarkey Manor project going to be? Not that I care that much as I hate sport but I'll support you in your endeavours as my chickens and my friends.'
'Thank you kindly,' says Mrs Pumphrey. 'We are going to...' (and she does a tinny drum roll on the side of the honey dripping colander) '...batik a thousand bats!'
'Not literally, I hope,' I say, thinking of the inevitable knock on the door and hefty fine from the British Wildlife Conservation Trust for Bats and Other Leathery Winged Creatures Like Pterydactyls Called Norbert.

'Of course not,' says Mrs Pumphrey. 'And if you are going to add asides, could you make them shorter, please, only they are interrupting the flow of my prose.'
'Do continue,' I say.
'The bees are going to provide the wax, and we're going to use natural dyes from the flowers in the garden,' continues Mrs P. 'And Tango Pete is donating the ball of rubber bands he's been collecting since 1983, in order for us to er...rubber band-up the fabric prior to dipping it in the dye.'
'And where is the fabric coming from?' I say.
'Ah,' says Mrs P. 'That's the cunning part. You know it's Spring?'
'Yes,' I say.
'What do cats do in Spring?'
'I daren't say,' I say.
Mrs Pumphrey gives me a stern look. 'They moult,' she says. 'And you have three cats which equals a lot of fur.'
'You're telling me,' I say, as I am in constant hoovering mode at the moment, and often leave the house with furry trousers.
'Well, Mrs Slocombe is collecting the fur...'
'Not from the hoover?'
'Might be...'
'And she has today begun weaving it into a luxurious fabric ready for the batiking thereof!' says Mrs Pumphrey.

I sit a few moments, in silence, pondering the wonder of it all.

'You see!!' shrieks Mrs Pumphrey. 'Everyone is contributing to the project! And by the end of July, one thousand bats will have batik jumpers made from cat fur fabric and bees wax, er...wax!'

'Do bats need jumpers in July?' I say. 'Furry jumpers?'
'They're getting them whether they like them or not,' says Mrs P. 'And I defy any of them to refuse.'

Indeed, I think. It will take a very brave bat to refuse a jumper from a chicken on a mission.

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Olly said...

Ha, The Morville Hours is one of my bedside books, I love it - and I'm thrilled to learn that there's a sequel! Bees, hens, a shared birthday and now books ... the coincidences are getting a bit spooky. *cue 'Close Encounters' music.*

Denise said...

Oh, don't you just love the Morville Hours? It's just lovely - a snuggly wool blanket of a book for the soul!
I bought 'The Morville Year' yesterday and am already half way through it. Another calming, emotive and descriptive read that brings tranquility to the heart. I've never written to an author before, but I feel urged to write to Katherine Swift just to say thank you.
I am going to visit the Morville gardens. I want to see the real thing!
Hope you are feeling better, Olly. I wonder what the next 'coincidence' will be!!??

Bob said...

Jeannie McWheeny Tweeny does sound like she is probably a relative of the Wee Nac Mac Feegles or is that the Mac Nac Feegles? Any how, she did until she came out of the sporran and shone like sunlight - I somehow think that the Feegles dont bath often enough to shine of anything.