A Year In The Life Of Howard McAllister

March 2020 – Howard found a sext-message on his girlfriend’s phone from some guy named Nick

April 2020 – Howard lost his wallet and had to wait for two weeks for a replacement bank card

May 2020 – Howard found a strangely shaped mole on the side of his torso

June 2020 – Howard lost his grandfather who had been in ICU being treated for Covid for eight weeks

July 2020 – Howard found a new route to work that meant not passing the hospital where his grandfather died

August 2020 – Howard lost his face mask on the way back from shopping in Westfield. He was not allowed on the bus and ended up walking home in the rain.

September 2020 – Howard found his boss snogging one of the cashiers in the stock room

October 2020 – Howard lost the chance to see his parents because he had a cough and a temperature

November 2020 – Howard found a note from his girlfriend saying she could not take any more and was moving out

December 2020 – Howard lost any glimmer of confidence in the government as Christmas was cancelled for London

January 2021 – Howard found a twenty pound note underneath the sofa cushions

February 2021 – Howard lost his job when the store closed and everyone was made redundant

March 2021 – Howard found an online support group whom he could talk about his dark feelings

______________________________

his little post is my response to this week’s FANDANGO’S FLASH FICTION CHALLENGE

Getting To Know You

I have been tagged by Nova, the creator of My Namastè 365 Online to take part in a fun challenge – the GETTING TO KNOW YOU challenge – as you can see from Nova’s post below:

Getting-To-Know-You Challenge

Oh…and since I have been working on this post, Kristian has also nominated me:

https://talesfromthemindofkristian.wordpress.com/2019/01/28/getting-to-know-you-some-questions-from-laura/

The GETTING TO KNOW YOU challenged is the creation of Laura Venturini as you can see from her post below:

The “Getting to Know You” Challenge

getting to know you

Rules:

  1. Copy and paste the rules and the questions
  2. Tag at least two people to take the challenge.
  3. Use the “Getting to Know You” pic and pingback to this post.

Questions:

Name a moment in your life when you felt you were most courageous.

Courageous? I have had to do things I found very difficult. There have been some moments in my life that called for extraordinary courage, but I find it hard to write about some of them…I think I would need to write an entire post to explain what happened.

I think being with people who were dying, watching them take their last breaths was hard, especially the very first time. I realized though, that I needed to be courageous. We were always told that hearing is the last sense that remains. I have found the words, the most wonderful words when needed. I don’t know how it happens, but it always seemed that the perfect words to say to make sure the person felt safe and treasured right to the end came into my head.

Showsec staff in the new uniformsOne day I was working as a steward at an event with around 15,000 people in attendance. We were informed that due to a package that had been identified in the area I was working in, the were going to evacuate the entire venue. I had to stand at my post as we had been trained and direct those who were sat in my section. My stomach was in nervous knots because you don’t know what is going to happen. Of course after the crowds were safely evacuated then we too were directed to depart immediately. Specially trained Showsec staff consulted with the police, the bomb disposal unit. I should write about that day…it was all quite a saga. I will say this…those 15,000 people who departed within eight minutes were wonderfully co-operative.

IMG_20180722_123051 (2)I think it was courageous in many ways to start a relationship with Goldfinch who was a total stranger to me. Every other relationship I had before was with someone I had known for some time. But I trusted Goldfinch. I am so glad I had the courage to trust him, because he has been wonderful for me and he has left me with something very special to remember him by.

If you had to choose only one breakfast cereal for the rest of your life, which one would it be?

Such a hard question. I love variety – so only one cereal would be difficult. There is a cereal that I really love. I only buy it occasionally…it is too expensive to buy regularly.

It is called Scrumshus Granola (the Premium Granola – an everyday luxury made with honey and pure maple syrup) and it is yummy!

When have you felt the most scared?

There have been a number of occasions I felt very scared.

Of course what comes straight into my mind is the realization that I was in danger that night in the park. I am going to copy and paste an excerpt from another post I published last year, because I don’t want to relive that memory right now:

When I arrived in the park there were joggers, dog-walkers, cyclists.  A man sat next to me on the bench.  A complete stranger.  It was him.  I was not afraid at first, I was too caught up in my despair.  But I do remember what happened when I stood up with the sudden awareness that now it was dark and there were no joggers, dog-walkers, cyclists anywhere I looked.  I had decided I should not be there.  I said it out loud.  I actually said, “I should go home.” 

Then I was on my feet, trying to walk quickly. It was so dark and I could not make out tree roots and bushes. It felt as if I was floating. The strength of his hands on my shoulders pulling me to the ground. I have never felt so utterly powerless.

I try not to think about him. I do not think about him. What he did was terrible. But he did not get under my skin, into my head, he did not oppress my heart. It was awful, but it was momentary and it has not haunted me like Jack has. Despite what he did that night, the damage was already done. Caramel was already crushed long before that night.

Now I am going to take you forward several hours.  A security guard had found me…he had found me left in bushes with obvious injuries.  He had called an ambulance.

Yes, I felt fear in my gut like never before.

If you could sing like any musical artist, who would you choose?

I would love to sing like one of those amazing opera singers. They are all amazing to me…but I am going to chose Elīna Garanča a mezzo-soprano. This beautiful beautiful piece is “Belle nuit, ô nuit d’amour” (the Barcarolle) from Offenbach’s “The Tales Of Hoffman”:

Aren’t they wonderful?!!!

Do you collect anything?

I don’t think I do now, unless you count fancy cleaning products.

I used to collect pictures to make collages with. I had a huge box with pictures of animals and sunsets and flowers that I used to use to decorate notebooks and make letter writing materials with. It was too expensive to keep buying pretty stationery so I started making my own with coloured paper and my picture collection.

IMG_20181125_161458

If you could live inside a TV show or movie, what would it be?

I don’t watch much television. But I do quite like the BBC show “Death In Paradise”. My sister has the DVD collection of every series since it began. I watched the series last year and the new series has started again recently on BBC One every Thursday at 9pm.

It is a detective show set in the Caribbean. But it isn’t like one of those scary, violent gory shows. It is very easy to watch and seems to follow a similar formula each episode. There is usually a death at the start and for the rest of the episode you find out all about the connections three or four suspects had with the victim whilst the detective and his team try to deduce who could have committed the crime, how and why?

I would like to be in the show…sunbathing in the background, swimming in the sea, and having nothing to do with the crime-scene. Do you think you can make a living from being an extra on a show like that?

Have you ever had a reoccurring dream? If so, what was it?

I don’t often dream because I sleep very heavily. But I have found myself dreaming about my ex-neighour Jack. The dreams are different, but in every dream I find myself frightened, embarrassed, humiliated and distraught over Jack’s behaviour towards me. I wrote about one of my dreams recently:

lion portrait on blackWhen I was very young child, I used to dream about a bright blue lion that chased us and we were all hiding with our neighbour’s children from the blue lion.  One by one the lion caught them.  The only way I escaped is by walking upside on the ceiling and then climbing out onto the roof.

But I have not had that dream since childhood.

What is my start sign?

I don’t understand this question, but I have always quite liked Orion.

I often see it when I come back to the little nest late at night.

_____________

Well thank you Nova, I enjoyed answering the GETTING TO KNOW YOU questions!!!

So now it is my turn to tag some other bloggers for the GETTING TO KNOW YOU challenge:

Ride Sally Ride!

S, Glamour, Gold, Lights, Theater Letter, Alphabet

Jim Adams, aka Newepicauthor, the creator of A Unique Title For Me, is hosting SONG-LYRIC-SUNDAY and this week he has chosen the theme: Songs that have a girls’ name in it which starts with an S

So, with the letter “S” in the spotlight, it turns out that there are a lot of songs with girls names that start with S! Which song should I choose? Hmm. Jack….do you have any suggestions? I am laughing at him because once upon a time Jack and some of his friends compiled an entire album of songs about one particular girl’s name that began with the letter S. That is another story! One that Jack might prefer I forget.

I am going to go with a song that is an experience!! From start to finish! I have chosen “Dance To The Music” from Sly & The Family Stone. Apparently they carved out the genre “psychedelic soul” which I will confess is not a genre I particularly identify with. I think that this was a huge injection of something special though – as if the sixties needed a wakeup! – and I can see Sly & Co easily traversing into the seventies with others trying to keep up with their pace. Hey – what do I know? We are talking a long time before I was born!

I love it – totally love it! Right in the middle you will see the name Sally – but there is a lot going on in this song!!! I is incredible, full of energy, full of soul. I love it! I also love that it was used in Shrek karaoke…so I have tagged a video of Shrek and company at the end of my post.

[Cynthia:] Get up and dance to the music!
Get on up and dance to the fonky music!
Dum-dumm du-du-du-du-du-dum-dumm
Du-du-du-du-du-dum-dumm – du-du-du-du-du-dum-dumm
[All:] Dance to the Music, Dance to the Music
[Freddie:] Hey Greg!
[Greg:] What?
[Freddie:] All we need is a drummer,
For people who only need a beat, yeah!
[Drummer]
I’m gonna add a little guitar
And make it easy to move your feet
[Guitar]
[Larry:] I’m gonna add some bottom,
So that the dancers just won’t hide
[Bass]
[Sly:] You might like to hear my organ
I said ‘Ride Sally Ride’
[Organ] Cynthia, Jerry!!
You might like to hear the horns blowin’,
Cynthia on the throne, yeah!
[Trumpets]
Listen to me
[Cynthia & Jerry got a message they’re sayin’:]
[Cynthia:] All the squares, go home!
Aaaaah, yeah!!!
[Trumpets]
[Listen to the basses:]
Dum-dumm du-du-du-du-du-dum-dumm
Du-du-du-du-du-dum-dumm – du-du-du-du-du-dum-dumm
[All:] Dance to the Music, Dance to the Music

Written by: Sylvester Stewart

Distracted By A Despicable Me

In order to lighten my thoughts, I am trying to make sure I have a bit of fun. I don’t want to be arriving in Australia with a heavy heart and shaken up by unwelcome flashbacks.

I am trying to make sure I have a little time having just fun with friends to distract myself as much as possible. I went round to the home of some friends last weekend for a take-away and when they asked me to pick a DVD to watch, I chose Despicable Me 2 – because it makes me laugh!

Oh and it did! I was laughing and laughing (as if I had not seen it at least ten times already!) I think keeping busy is a wise thing. I am working a lot. Tasks such as packing my things for Australia and trying to make the flat ready for the holiday maker who will be here while I am away, are occupying attention when I am not at work.

While we were watching Despicable Me 2, one of my friends cried “It’s Jack!” I used to say the same thing (I don’t say it now.) The way Jack was with most women. Jack was English but he spoke fluent Russian (not an easy language to learn) and Romanian, amongst other languages. Also Jack used to wear a black leather jacket throughout the winter with a grey scarf when it was cold. And Jack had hundreds of followers (his minions) who were always laughing and giggling.

I was in love with Gru! I do find that kind of makes me laugh to myself. I found this video that has a man commentating on Gru’s story in “Despicable Me 2″…I don’t know what to make of him, but I love the clips that have been compiled in this trailer.

On A Clear Day…I Can See Which Decision To Make

clear.jpgSometimes it is hard to make sense of what to do next, which choice to make, and how to live one’s life. Other times, everything is very simple and clear. In fact you are deluged by reasons to make a certain decision.

It seems obvious that regardless of the decision you make, there will be challenges. But if you feel that you will have more energy to overcome those challenges and will be far more likely to be happy with one decision…you are nudged in that direction. When things seem so clear and so obvious, why keep second guessing yourself? (Because we all have a treacherous heart that likes to justify what is actually bad for us!)

Living for well over thirty years has taught me that if it turns out to be a bad decision, it is alright, you can change direction at any point and forge a new route.

 

 

Vaseline

Frischmann performing in August 1995

Jim Adams, aka Newepicauthor, the creator of A Unique Title For Me, is hosting SONG-LYRIC-SUNDAY and this week he has chosen the theme: SONGS WITH ONE WORD TITLES

Ooooh – interesting theme. There are lots of songs with one word titles, so picking one is not easy! But I am so short on time these days, sometimes I just have to go with my gut feeling!

I need to explain this though. When I was a teenager, both myself and all of my school friends wanted to be just like one woman. That woman was Justine Frischmann. When I was a teenager, she was the epitome of “cool”! She was the lead singer and guitarist in a band called Elastica. Now you may know exactly who I am talking about, but if you know nothing about them, I will tell you this – their debut album became the fastest selling debut album in UK history. It sold over a million copies.

Back in the day Justine was also famous for dating Damon Albarn (front man of Britpop band Blue). But regardless of who she was dating, she was just seemed so cool. Her music – so in your face – mad guitars, quirky lyrics, attitude.

We lapped it up. I am not sure I am giving a fair appraisal of Elastica and Justine Frischman, but I am remembering my perception as a teenager. My best friends and I used to walk around school singing this song. Of course, as you can expect, we all started to buy Vaseline lip balm to have in the pocket of our school blazer.

When you’re stuck like glue, Vaseline
When you need some goo

When you’re stuck like glue, Vaseline
When you’re black and blue, Vaseline

La La La La La La La La La La

When you’re stuck like glue
Give me some

When you’re stuck like glue

If you’d like to woo, Vaseline

La La La La La La La La La La

If it’s hot like you,
Give me some

Do you need a clue,
I want some Vaseline, Vaseline, Vaseline, Vaseline, Vaseline, Vaseline.

Written by: Justine Frischmann

Numb and Unsteady

Jim Adams, aka Newepicauthor, the creator of A Unique Title For Me, is hosting SONG-LYRIC-SUNDAY and this week he has chosen the theme: SONGS WITH ONE WORD TITLES

Well….something strange has happened. I am sure I chose a song a month ago and prepared a post but it has vanished into thin air. So here I am at the last minute trying to think of the song and wishing I could remember what my original post was!! My memory is fading!!! This is what happens when you are twenty-one*. (I’m twenty-one forever – ok!)

Woman, Country Side, Hat, Summer, Field

Some songs just seem to fit the total discombobulation we have all felt during the past year!!! I amused myself at one point by putting together my own little Pandemic Compilation, and I remember noticing that almost all the songs on my list had one word titles. It’s all we could cope with this past year. Just keep things simple! We cannot keep up with all these changes!!

My inspiration for this is a song I only discovered through a film…a film dramatization of a novel. The song is called “Numb” and it is from the one and only Max Jury! Today we are giving out a special prize of a year’s supply of toilet roll to the first person who can come up with which film I heard this in. (Actually, Jack is telling me not to give away any toilet rolls, we still don’t know what the rest of 2021 has in store!)

OK….if you can’t guess, and you want to know the answer….scroll down to the second song in this post. This week I am giving you two songs with one word titles….I will let you scroll down to see which it is!

Hhhmmm… Hhmm!
Hhhmmm… Hhmm!
Hhhmmm… Hhmm!
Hhhmmm… Hhmm!

Honey, here I go again, Hhhmmm…
Down that crooked road of sin, Hhhmmm…
My momma locked me out again, Hhhmmm… Hhmmhhmm!
And hung me high to rust under the rain

I am numb, I’m numb
I am numb, I’m numb
I am numb, I’m numb
I am numb, Oohhh… Ohh… Ohh
I am numb, I’m numb
I am numb, I’m numb
I am numb, I’m numb
I am numb, Oohhh…

When I sing my stranger blues, Hhhmmm… Hhmm!
I make it on the local news, Hhhmmm… Hhmm!
Everybody likes to see you lose, Hhhmmm… Hhmm… Hhmm!
And hang you high to rust under the rain

I am numb, I’m numb
I am numb, I’m numb
I am numb, I’m numb
I am numb, Oohhh… Ohh… Ohh

Little bluebird at my window
Sing a pretty song for me
Don’t you know that you can fly, fly, fly away
Don’t you know that you can leave

I am numb, I’m numb
I am numb, I’m numb
I am numb, I’m numb
I am numb, I’m numb
I am numb, I’m numb
I am numb, I’m numb
I am numb, I’m numb
I am numb, I’m numb
I am numb, I’m numb
I am numb, I’m numb
I am numb, I’m numb
I am numb, I’m numb
I am numb, I’m numb

Written by: Max Jury, Dean Josiah

______________________

The second song today – with a one word title of course, is called “Unsteady”…and I love it!!! It is from the mighty X Ambassadors.

Hold
Hold on
Hold on to me
‘Cause I’m a little unsteady
A little unsteady
Hold
Hold on
Hold on to me
‘Cause I’m a little unsteady
A little unsteady

Momma
Come here
Approach
Appear
Daddy
I’m alone
‘Cause this house don’t feel like home

If you love me
Don’t let go
If you love me
Don’t let go

Hold
Hold on
Hold on to me
‘Cause I’m a little unsteady
A little unsteady
Hold
Hold on
Hold on to me
‘Cause I’m a little unsteady
A little unsteady

Mother
I know
That you’re tired of being alone
Dad I know you’re trying
To fight when you feel like flying

But if you love me
Don’t let go
If you love me
Don’t let go

Hold
Hold on
Hold on to me
‘Cause I’m a little unsteady
A little unsteady
Hold
Hold on
Hold on to me
‘Cause I’m a little unsteady
A little unsteady
Hold
Hold on
Hold on to me
‘Cause I’m a little unsteady
A little unsteady

Written By: Adam Levin, Noah G Feldshuh, Alexander Junior Grant, Casey Wakeley Harris and Samuel Nelson Harris

Learning From Mumma Bear

My mum is very sweet, I have to say. Believe me…it is not just me that thinks so. People love my mum! In the town we grew up in, everyone knew my mum and people loved her. They thought she had a gorgeous personality. She was always smiling, always chatting, always showing kindness.

Just over ten years ago, once we had all left home, my parents moved closer to my grandfather so they could help him as his health was starting to decline. In the village they now live in, people have come to know and love my mum. She has the same gorgeous personality. People say exactly the same things as they did in my home town – your mum is always smiling, so friendly, so kind.

Yup that’s my mumma! I have so many stories about the people whose lives she has touched, I could easily fill a book about Mumma Bear. We could not have asked for a better example of how to be a gorgeous human being than our Mumma Bear!

Teddy Bear, Teddy, Bear, Stuffed Animal

Besides all the work at home, caring for a huge family, Mum did not work for money when we were younger. She wanted to be around for us during our early years. She felt starting work before we were at school would disrupt our development…or something like that. But once my youngest sister Milly had started school, Mumma then decided to go back to nursing. For several years she worked on an endoscopy unit in the nearby hospital.

I remember the very first time she received wages. After years of gratefully accepting hand-me-downs from other kind families, Mumma wanted to go out and buy us something new. There was a new shop in the local shopping centre and they had some beautiful teddy bears. Mum bought one for the three of us “little ones”. I must have been ten years old at this time, because Milly was now at school. Mine was a slightly ginger brown. I called my teddy “Max”. Milly had a white bear which she named “Snowy”. Mandy, her more beige brown bear she named “Honey”.

Three bears for three little girls. We were so grateful to Mumma Bear. We all treasured those bears. I still had Max when I left home in my mid-twenties!

That was not the only treat. Mumma Bear really wanted to treat us. She took us to a local restaurant which was famous for their naughty puddings and desserts. I ordered a Banana Split. Milly ordered a knickerbocker-glory. Mandy ordered a salad! A salad…just about the farthest thing from a naughty dessert!

Aaaaah! It’s nice to reminisce over the pages and pages of special memories of those you love. Mumma Bear was the perfect mother to the three little girls, who still think she is one of the sweetest people on the planet.

I Should’ve Bought You Flowers

Flower, Bouquet, Rose, Roses, Pink

Jim Adams, aka Newepicauthor, the creator of A Unique Title For Me, is hosting SONG-LYRIC-SUNDAY and this week he has chosen a theme suggested by Amy: BLOSSOM/CHERRY/FLOWERS

How lovely!!! This is exactly what I want to think about right now. This is the time of year when the road I live on is probably at it’s most spectacular. There are so many magnolia trees and fruit trees. As I walk along pink petals swirl thought the air. It is just gorgeous. I saw my first bluebells yesterday. It is so good for the heart to see so much beauty.

Jack picked a song for me this week. This is a song that Jack said he found very hard to hear for some time. I am not going to say too much, because it is all water under the bridge now. But I guess this is a song about regret. I am so glad for my own sake and for Jack’s that things worked out for us. Regrets can be sheer torment.

Same bed but it feels just a little bit bigger now
Our song on the radio but it don’t sound the same
When our friends talk about you, all it does is just tear me down
‘Cause my heart breaks a little when I hear your name

It all just sounds like oooooh…
Mmm, too young, too dumb to realize
That I should’ve bought you flowers
And held your hand
Should’ve gave you all my hours
When I had the chance
Take you to every party
‘Cause all you wanted to do was dance
Now my baby’s dancing
But she’s dancing with another man

My pride, my ego, my needs, and my selfish ways
Caused a good strong woman like you to walk out my life
Now I’ll never, never get to clean up the mess I made, ohh…
And it haunts me every time I close my eyes

It all just sounds like oooooh…
Mmm, too young, too dumb to realize
That I should’ve bought you flowers
And held your hand
Should’ve gave you all my hours
When I had the chance
Take you to every party
‘Cause all you wanted to do was dance
Now my baby’s dancing
But she’s dancing with another man

Although it hurts
I’ll be the first to say that I was wrong
Oh, I know I’m probably much too late
To try and apologize for my mistakes
But I just want you to know

I hope he buys you flowers
I hope he holds your hand
Give you all his hours
When he has the chance
Take you to every party
‘Cause I remember how much you loved to dance
Do all the things I should have done
When I was your man
Do all the things I should have done
When I was your man

Written By: Bruno Mars, Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine and Andrew Wyatt

The Mysterious Disappearance Of The Tinkaboo Dasharoo

Home Office, Workstation, Macbook Air

I have come across an anomaly in my WordPress blog. Does anyone have any idea where the WP Admin dashboard has disappeared to? It used to show in the panel on the left side of my screen, but overnight it seems to have vanished. Yes – vanished! Completely disappeared into thin air. Am I missing a trick?

Is there a new way to find the old tinkaboo dasharoo? It is a very handy aid to searching out my older posts from the Caramel archives and republishing them while I am such a busy bee with work.

If any of you technical genius types could point me in the right direction (and please don’t send me off into one of those awful forums) I would be so grateful to you!