Tag Archives: writing prompt

Who Is Robin Grainger?

I am absolutely loving the chance to explain a little more about some of the key characters and the numerous interesting minor characters that share Annabelle Riley’s journey with her.

Today I want to feature one of the most important characters in the three books – yet someone who many of my friends who read the books had a bit of a Marmite reaction to. To me personally, Robin encompasses some of the qualities, characteristics and idiosyncrasies of men I have known and count among my closest friends – men who had the very best start in life as children and were on the road to success but encountered pitfalls and disappointments and have struggled to find themselves after a humiliation which caused a harder edge in them.

The reaction surprised me a little, but all the more need to enlighten others as to the Robin I see in my mind. He is a complex character, he has a personal story that is an important part of the series. I am going to try to avoid spoilers again…so much of this will be about Robin’s backstory, rather than developments that occur during the storyline.

But first of all, I just want to share a paragraph about Robin’s parents. because I find it hard to share Robin without the context of his family:

Stephen and Fiona Grainger

Robin’s father Stephen is featured later on in the series, but I don’t think it is dropping any spoilers to tell you he has worked hard in business his whole life, and has a very disciplined and traditional outlook. He was the director of a major retail chain, before he became more involved in politics and advisory roles. Even after retirement, he continues to actively support charities and the arts. He owns a large estate out in Berkshire, an impressive town house in Chelsea, and holiday homes in Portugal and in Wales. He loves the countryside, but his commitments have meant he has had to frequently travel back and forth between London and Inkpen.

His wife Fiona has been his loyal support for decades, and is an impressive socialite. Due to her interest in both home cooking and fine dining restaurants, she dabbled at one stage in her own exclusive catering company, but as it expanded she sold her business as she realized she did not have the time to devote while supporting her husband’s aspirations and projects. The apple of their eye – their golden haired son Robin:

Robin Grainger

(imagine a gorgeous, charming, quick-witted, tall, fair-haired nearly 40 year old very English and well spoken Ryan Reynolds / Val Kilmer / Robert Redford with that slight air of James Bond)

Robin is the only child of a wealthy English couple (the extended family made up of his uncles, aunts and cousins are close-knit), and we are talking uber-posh, rural Southern England – grown up on a country estate, sent to boarding school (in England and then in Switzerland), annual skiing holidays, loved Safaris with his parents in Africa, excelled at everything he ever did – always top of his class, winning prizes in school debates, a natural linguist, and climbing the career ladder within the Finance world steadily.

As the only child, Robin is aware that at some stage he will lose his beloved parents and shoulder the responsibility of his father’s well-managed estate and modest fortune. Until that time, he has ambitions of his own. He wants to make a name for himself rather than always being in the shadow of his father. His father cannot help but direct advice to his son and use his contacts to try to speed up the progress of Robin’s chosen career.

Robin was married at a young age. When Robin was a teenager, his parents became chummy with the wealthy Renard and Odette Maréchal (Renard owns a chain of hotels and restaurants, several in Alpine ski resorts) and all four parents were willing to encourage an interest between Robin Grainger and Claudia Maréchal.

By his mid-thirties, Robin is divorced and excelling in his career in Finance. More than ever he wants to be his own man, and not under the thumb of his father. He has the opportunity to spend a year working with a major investments firm in New York to become more familiar with the workings of the New York Stock Exchange and to build his circle of contacts. A friend of his father’s has promised him an extraordinary role back in the City of London at the end of his year in New York. Everything is on course for Robin to be at the top of his field before he turns forty.

At this stage of his life, he considers himself a charming and wholesome rogue, and is not looking for any serious relationship, but enjoys the thrill of the chase with beautiful women. After nine months of hard work in New York and attending lots of professional and social events, meeting and greeting, sometimes with the guy he is sharing a flat with (who works for a media company) Robin attends a glitzy PR event. Robin is just about the hottest creature ever to wear a tuxedo – his Englishness making giving him the ultimate air of James Bond. But there is someone else at that event who turns heads and captures Robin’s attention – the stunning Annabelle Riley.

I don’t want to drop any spoilers, but Robin’s meeting with wild-hearted Annabelle brings along with it a complete contrast to everyone and everything he has known. By the time Book One begins, a complex connection between Robin and Annabelle is hanging in the air and leaves particularly Annabelle in a fog of confusion and uncertainty.

If you are intrigued about the part Robin Grainger plays in the story, you know where to find him:

A Delicious Writing Prompt

The GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE OFF has been an event to bring together some amazing WordPress users – both writers, poets, bakers, bloggers, readers and others who want to engage with other very lovely WordPress users. It has been an incredibly colourful, yummy and joyful event for the past three years, and Jeanne, Gary and I are delighted to be preparing for the 2022 BAKE OFF.

This year, we are inviting writers to respond to a special GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE OFF Writing Prompt. However, your writing does not have to be strictly about baking (although we would be thrilled if there was a baking aspect).

Pixabay image – Credits: ArtsyBee / 3959 images

Many of you will have seen that this year’s BAKE OFF has the theme:

The Joy Of Baking

But we are focusing on three areas of baking that can bring joy despite the anxious worries many of us have due to tumultuous world events and personal concerns.


This year we are asking you to write in response to one of the following three themes (you can respond to as many as you like):




Your piece can take any format you prefer. It can be short, it can be long. It can be comedy, mystery, or real-life drama. It can be a work of fiction, a story, or it can be your thoughts on any of these subjects. But we would love your work to be a reflection of you as a writer. Every year THE GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE OFF introduces us to more and more fabulous bloggers so we would love you to put some of your personality and style into your writing so that new readers can get to know you.

Please publish your writing in response to the special bake off writing prompt ON YOUR SITE. During BAKE OFF weekend (15th & 16th October 2022) we will have a special post featuring links to your posts. But our writing prompt is open now, so please either pingback to this post or copy a link to your post in the comments below, so that we can find your post.

You are very welcome to advertise our SPECIAL BAKE OFF WRITING PROMPT. You are very welcome to use the Pixabay image used for our writing prompt logo. You are very welcome to send in any questions about the BAKE OFF (or indeed baking photographs) to:


Sail Away On This Voyage Of A Lifetime

I had a message from a friend of mine yesterday which brought a huge smile to my face. She claims that Jack and I know every song, every album, every band ever. Of course we don’t. But we do like many different genres of music and we take an interest in anything new to our ears.

Well, my friend asked me if I had heard “Sail Away” from David Gray. I had not heard it before, and she started claiming it was the first time she had ever introduced a song to me, and not the other way around. But the reason she wanted me to hear it, is that she said it is the perfect song for the movie. You know…the Hollywood movie version of “This Voyage Of A Lifetime”, the final part of the three part Annabelle Riley series “LEARNERS AT LOVE”.

(Naturally, I am still keeping Hollywood at arm’s length – way too many shifty types there!)

Ocean, Milky Way, Boat, Sailing

So I listened – with my headphones in now I appreciate the difference in quality – and I loved it. Wow the bass! It is great! I loved the video she sent me too. Is it the original video? I don’t want to know if it’s not!

I also noticed recently that there seems to have been a change in the way Amazon links appear when copied onto a WordPress post. They used to pop up into a full on display of the book being linked. But it seemed to just stop very suddenly. I can still link them to an image though. For example, by clicking the image below….it should transport you to Amazon – no, not the Amazon – the website where you buy stuff that you probably don’t really need.

And The Sweets Poured In


The prompt from Sarah Elizabeth Moore this week reminded me of something that happened leading up to my first ever school trip when I must have been five years of age.

bananaepisodeI have been wanting to tell you this little story for some time, because I have to laugh at the way a five year old me thought. This is me at around five years old, wearing my cool sunglasses and faux leather jacket and feeling like a rock star. I had lost my front teeth. I know one of them fell out when I ate a banana (I accidentally swallowed it with the banana), but  can’t remember what happened to the other one.

I am slightly ashamed of this story, but you have to understand it from the point of view of a five year old who cared more about sweets than she did friends! I did not understand the need to go to school at all. Mum and Dad had already taught me how to read and write and I found it very odd that I had to leave my mum (who I thought needed my help to look after my two younger sisters) and go to school where there were all these noisy boisterous children who did not seem to be on my wave-length at all.

I remember two school trips that first year of school, one was in the summer and it was to Chester Zoo, where my teacher bought me an orange ice-lolly. I remember that ice-lolly as delicious, but a lot of it melted all over my beautiful peach coloured dress. Even today I can describe many of my childhood dresses. I had a beautiful collection.

The other trip must have been a few months before that – it was a coach trip to Blackpool lights. It must have been the colder months when we went on that trip.

Blackpool Lights – or I should say Blackpool Illuminations – is/are quite an event to see. Blackpool is a town that is all set-up for tourists, holiday makers and pleasure seekers. It attracts children, older folk and unfortunately all manner of binge drinkers on stag nights or hen parties. But as a five year old, I was oblivious to all I would later come to dislike about the behaviour of some of the adults that visit Blackpool. To me it was all about the incredibly colourful light display.


Well…before the school trip, I asked Mumma if she would buy me some sweeties to take on the school trip. I told her exactly the sweets I wanted. Of course she wanted me to enjoy my school trip so she promised me she would buy my favourites. Well, my mum was a very well-liked lady. And there were a lot of people who were fond of our family. She would often chat to people when she went shopping.

My mum had mentioned to quite a few people that I was looking forward to my first school trip and that she was going to buy me some sweets. Well…the kind folk who heard this all decided that they wanted to buy me some sweets for my school trip. I ended up with an entire carrier bag full of all types of sweets including my favourites which Mumma had bought me.

I knew Mumma was going to buy me my favourite sweets. I think I was more looking forward to sitting on the coach with a big bag of my favourite sweets more than I was seeing the Blackpool illuminations. But I was shocked when Mum gave me this huge carrier bag full of sweets. I was thrilled.

This is my case in point of how it never rains, but it pours – in this case I was bombarded by gifts of sweets from neighbours and friends of our family and from my Nanna (Dad’s mum) who lived in our town. There were a lot of people who loved our family.

my sweets.jpgAnd I also remember thinking to myself (although I can’t remember if I said it out loud) that the other children would be so jealous of how many sweets I had. Mum made it clear that I was to give the sweets to my teacher and tell her that they were for every one on the coach to share. I was horrified by this suggestion. As far as I was concerned, they were my sweets. I could not understand why I had to share them with the other children on the coach. How shameful!!! It took me a while to learn that we should want to share what we have with others! At the age of five, I did not comprehend why I would want those other children to have my sweets.

not sure whyMumma and my Dadda would have many lessons to teach me! I am so proud of them for their patience and persistence. Eventually I did forge close friendships with other children at at school and of course I would share my sweets and crisps with them. How grateful I am for all of the lessons learned as a child. Wonderful Mumma and Dadda never gave up 🙂



This is my post in response to the writing prompt provided by Sarah Elizabeth Moore:


How Jim Was Impaled


I know this story is not going to come across as funny as it seemed when it was told to me. I just don’t think I can do it justice!

Have you ever had a friend tell you a story and they break down in tears of laughter to the extent that they find it hard to control themselves? You can barely make out what they are saying because they are giggling so much and their whole face and neck is crimsoning as the hilarity overwhelms them?

One of the wildest tales I remember is from a first aid refresher course. The instructor, Tina, was a friend of mine. She was teaching the class about various injuries and how to deal with them, and one of those was “impalement”.  She asked if anyone could think of an example of how someone might be impaled. A young man in the class named Max started laughing. Max said to Tina, “do you remember what happened to Jim?”

joiner.jpgBefore long both Tina and Max were bent sideways laughing, both with crimson faces as they tried to tell the rest of us the story while they laughed uncontrollably. I did not know Jim well, but I knew he was the maintenance manager of the complex, within which the first aid course was being held. Max was a member of the maintenance team. It was an enormous property so there were a number of plumbers, electricians, joiners, decorators etc.

With beautiful timing, there was a knock on the door of the classroom and who should pop their head round the door but Jim! He needed some keys that Max had. As soon as they saw Jim, Tina and Max were in hysterics. Max told Jim that we were learning about impalement injuries.

“Oh you goon – you’re not telling them what happened to me in Russia are you?”

In the end it was Jim who told us the story, and even he was laughing. Between the three of them the information I managed to absorb was that Jim was on a construction project in Russia during the colder months. It was very cold, very very cold. Jim’s glove had become stuck to something, because of the freezing conditions. In the attempt to disconnect himself, which he managed to do, the force made him lose his balance and he toppled over and landed on a metal spike. The spike impaled him through the buttocks.

Later on in hospital, Jim was told the spike had narrowly avoided going through the essential passage, and he had got away with a rather deep gouge in the more padded part of his plumpish behind.

He had to have his dressings changed by a team of Russian nurses for some time before the wound had healed completely. He had some stories about a couple of the nurses too, but I will leave those out of this post.

It’s one of those wild tales when you kind of had to be there to appreciate Jim and his impaled buttocks.


This was my post in response to the writing prompt from Sarah Elizabeth Moore:


Swimming With The Ducks

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned one of my favourite places in London – Hampstead Lido (Parliament Hill Lido), which is an incredibly lush experience on a hot summer’s day.

can't beat it.jpgSo when I saw the writing prompt fromSarah Elizabeth Moore, I thought I would share with you my favourite place for wild swimming – Hampstead Ponds!

The whole of Hampstead Heath brings a real mix of memories to me. Many good and some devestating. I wrote about the conflicting feelings and memories I have in a post called: Memories…Letting The Happy Ones Dominate.

I featured my memories of an evening I spent with friends a few days before I was attacked in another post last year. This is an excerpt from it which will tell you about Hampstead Ponds:

I used to meet friends every Thursday for an intensive keep-fit boot-camp. Normally we would run down to a local cricket pitch, where the class would start. We would run sprints, and do squats and leapfrogs and all sorts of different exercises. But this night was different. One of the lads was leaving London to move abroad as he was engaged to be married. So we were going to have the boot-camp at a different location – Hampstead Heath.

We drove to Hampstead Heath. We ran from the Highgate side of the Heath over to the Hampstead side. When we reached the Hampstead Ponds for mixed bathers (there are men only and women only ponds too), we stripped our running clothes off and all of us had our swimming costumes on. We jumped into the water and swam a couple of circuits around the pond. There was a bit of splashing each other too. There was hardly anyone else there at that time so we weren’t annoying anyone.


Afterwards, we put our running clothes on over our swimming costumes, and then ran back over to the Highgate side of the Heath. There we found a grassy spot and the guy who took the class shouted out some instructions which we followed, press-ups, squats, leap frogs and stretches.

VW camper.pngTwo of our friends (a married couple) had a VW Camper Van. So we all got changed in the back of the van. The girls went first, we had to take our damp clothes off and have a quick dry off and put on our warm dry clothes. Then it was the lad’s turn to change. Once we had all changed, we walked up the hill so we could have a goodbye drink with our friend who was moving abroad for his wedding.

I loved that evening. My hair was slimy and smelt like ducks afterwards. But I loved it, and I am so glad that is one of my happy memories, just a few days before I was attacked.


This was my post in response to the writing prompt from Sarah Elizabeth Moore:


Just To Be Held Close For A While


Any other time, I might have been able to contemplate the subject of “soul mates” and write about it. But you find me at a bit of disadvantage this week.

I had two dates with a really nice man within the space of a week. He ticks all the boxes. He bought me gifts. He has been kind, courteous, all the lovely manners you hope for in a man. He seems down to earth, hard-working (been in the same job for twenty years!) faithful, honest, sensible…he is a really nice man.

Yet after I said goodbye to him after our second date, I walked home in tears. It was a beautifully sunny day and the sky was blue. I looked up at planes stretching across the sky leaving white chemtrails and wished that I was on one of them. I wish I could walk to my local underground station and swipe my Oyster card and board a train that would take me to Adelaide, Australia. I wish it would take me to exactly where Goldfinch is.

I just need him to hold me close for a while, maybe just a few minutes, maybe a few hours, I don’t know, but just long enough to make it all better. And then…because I know there is a lot that he needs to be getting on with, I would board the train again and return to London until next time.

I really don’t know what to say about the subject of soul mates…

…all I know, is that I feel there is only one person who I want to hold me tight and make everything better.

Maybe another time I would have something more interesting to say on the subject of “soul mates”.

But this week, I am just grieving the loss of someone who has made me love him with my whole heart, my whole mind, my whole soul…and who is now not here. Yet…he still has my mind, heart and soul.


Do you have more to say on the subject of “soul mates” than I do? Please feel free to write a post and link it to Sarah Elizabeth Moore’s original writing prompt post:


My Relationship With Rain


I have come to appreciate the rain. I would mostly claim to love it, although I hate what it has done to some of my shoes!

UmbrellaGrowing up in England, I know a lot about rain. I have umbrellas a plenty – one in each bag that I use regularly. I also have a mini-umbrella hanging from my front door latch, so I can grab it on my way out if I am going somewhere without a bag (which is rare – I am almost always lugging numerous bags around with me).

The only thing I don’t really like about the rain is that it often means grey overcast skies. I like blue skies. I grew up in the north west of England and  for a long time everything seemed so very grey. Grey pre-fab housing estates. Grey pavements and roads. Grey school uniforms. Grey cloudy skies. Grey grey grey.

green england.jpgHowever, after my first holiday in a hotter country which was dry, and had orange sand everywhere and very little green and hardly any flowers. I came back to England and suddenly saw not grey, but green everywhere. I realized that for so long I had been seeing grey, but there was abundant green all year round. It took me a while to realize how gorgeous England is because of all the rain that comes our way.

azaleasI grew in appreciation for the rain and I started to realize that the more rain there was, the more lush was the summer. The more rain, the more beautiful and colourful the flowers. I love what the rain does to our gardens, to the parks, to the countryside. It certainly does make England extra pretty and very lush at times.

I remember reading an article about how many countries have to conserve water carefully. I feel bad admitting it, but hardly anyone thinks about conserving water in England (except during a rare hose-pipe ban) because there seems to be an abundance of it. Although, this is probably an area where Brits do need a bit more education.

wrong shoesThere are times when I have been all dressed up and on my way to a special event when the rain has of course been inconvenient. I have had had a few disasters.

There are times when my sister’s village in North Wales is cut off because both of the bridges either side of town are flooded. As children, we sometimes found that our route to school was flooded, with as much as six feet of water pooled in the underpass under the dual carriage way that separated us from school. That meant either walking along the roadside (which had no pavement) next to cars going at 70mph, or trying to go a longer way round and hope that other underpasses were not as badly flooded.

Of course when I am wearing appropriate footwear, puddles are a completely different matter!

Living in England, I am used to rain! I have not let the rain interfere with my plans too much. I am a walker. I have walked mile after mile in pouring rain – for fun! So long as I am wearing good waterproofs, the rain does not bother me at all. But it’s all about wearing the right gear.

When it rains, I often hear a certain tune start to race through my head. The ultimate homage to that feeling of a joyful heart, smitten with love, and how that makes you feel on the rainiest of days.


This post was in response to the writing prompt provided by Sarah Elizabeth Moore:


The Expenses Policy Expert


The weekly writing prompt from Sarah Elizabeth Moore has stumped me this week, because nowadays, I am essentially a “jack of all trades, master of none”!

That may be obvious after my recent post which gave you an idea of all the different types of work I have immersed myself in in order to earn my “bread and butter”:

There was a time when I was an expert. During the eight years I worked in finance, there was one particular area where I really was the expert. The company had a policy on the expense claims that could be submitted by employees for travel and other business expenses. It was a long policy, a very long policy. According to the long document, it was originally put together by the directors of the company. But realistically, it was probably not them, but someone who worked in the accounts department or personnel department. Nobody seemed to want to claim responsibility for the contents of the expenses policy. They all said it was drawn up before their time.

When I took over the expenses ledger and was dealing with hundreds of claims each week from employees up and down the country, it became apparent that nobody really understood the policy. My manager did not understand it, the finance controller did not understand it, the finance director did not understand it, none of the directors understood it.

So I read it all, and re-read it, and circled parts that did not make sense and brought them to the attention of my manager. After the contradictions had been clarified, the full expenses policy was published on the company intranet. For the following few years I had four different supervisors, all of whom I had to train and explain the expenses policy to. I was the expert. I just made sure that if there were any issues, I presented them to my supervisor so that they could take the issue to the manager or director. If you ever have a boss – the key to good relations is to try to make your boss look good. Believe me, it makes your working life much more pleasant. Don’t be a glory hunter. Your boss will make your life miserable.

I realized that I am quite good at reading, absorbing, applying policies and explaining them to others. I know it sounds rather boring, but I was receiving scores of phone-calls a day asking me to explain areas of the expenses policy. Nobody else seemed able to answer those questions. Everyone knew to ring Mel – she will answer all of your questions.

Even though it is something I was very good at, I don’t want to go back to a job where I am tied to a desk and staring at a screen all day and talking on the phone. I prefer to work with people, in a role in which I feel I am really helping people, or to be a “jack of all trades”, doing all sorts of physical work and wherever possibly working outside in the fresh air.



What about you? What are you truly an expert at? Write a post and tell us and please link back to Sarah’s writing prompt:

Writing Prompt #4

Caramel’s Conscience


Writing Prompt #3

This is a subject that is interesting to me. I read an article about lying recently. It quoted some statistics about how many of us lie regularly. It also discussed the many reasons people may lie. I found it rather thought provoking because there is no doubt that some people us lies in a very sinister way, whereas for most of us, lying is often a weakness in a moment of fear or panic.

People lie for many different reasons.

I think that some lie about their abilities in order to get ahead in the world. Others try to cover up errors or guilt with lies. I think some lie out of fear of being caught or exposed for a mistake they have made. Some falsify reports, resumes, forms and tax returns. Then there are those who maliciously lie (slander) to damage another’s reputation, cowardly lie to avoid embarrassment, lie in a calculated manner to justify previous lies, or deviously to defraud people of their money – we call them swindlers or scammers. Some feel there are legitimate excuses for a lie if it protects another person. They hope that a so-called “white lie” is acceptable because they think it does not injure anyone.

I think some are so afraid of truth, or prefer to believe lies, their life has become a lacy lattice of interlocking lies that are hard to untangle.

Now I am convinced that almost everyone on the planet has lied out of fear, embarrassment or thinking that it will perhaps protect someone from being hurt. But I think there are a smaller number who wilfully set out to deceive others in order to take advantage of their trust, to gain some profit or power over them, and to hide their selfish motives.

I am proud of the many times I have refused to lie in a situation when it was clearly wrong. For example, when I worked in finance, my manager threatened me when she demanded I lie to a client in order to deliberately deceive them. When I refused she was furious and stated that the job description included being willing to lie. I stood my ground much to her obvious annoyance. Some time later she was amongst a number of staff who were dismissed for gross negligence and dishonesty when the company was embezzled  and lost around £1,000,000.

I have definitely withheld the truth at times. But my conscience is mostly clean regarding those occasions. For example, I do not like to tell friends here in London what happened to me the night I was attacked. Very few know. Many have asked me probing questions because they wonder why I disappeared for a year. Many believe my disappearance was in connection with my ex-flatmate Jack (which it partly is) or they presume the rumours were true that I was having an affair with a married man. I have chosen not to fight those untruths by opening up my tale of woe to everyone. I have withheld the truth. My family, my close friends, the directors I worked with – they know because I needed their help in order to deal with everything. But I just don’t feel that everyone is entitled to the truth – in some respects, it is none of their business.

But what I do remember is the first time I told an outright dishonest lie for selfish reasons and how my parents helped me to realize it was wrong. And now Crushed Caramel will confess the biggest lie – an outright fib that I told, and I was only around five years of age at the time:

It all started when I went into my brother’s bedroom. To this day, my memory of the first outright lie I told is vivid, and the way my parents tackled that dishonesty is even more a deep part of who I am as a person.

Now I was very aware of the rule that my parents had set. We were not allowed to go into my brother’s room without his permission (a rule that had been made after previous invasions). But I broke this rule and crept into my brother’s room. I was fascinated by my brother’s belongings. He was eight years older than me. He was a very good artist. He had these little bottles of ink on his desk. I could not resist playing with them. I also found his magnifying glass and played with that until I was bored. Then I noticed next to the lamp on his desk there was some money. I took it. It was not a huge amount, perhaps £2 or £3. I slipped out of my brother’s room before I was discovered thinking that I had got away with it.

Some time later, I heard a sound that always made me and my sisters excited. I rushed to my parents and asked them of we could have an ice-cream from the ice-cream van which was playing it’s song in the street outside. My parents said not this time. Then I asked if I could go and buy one for myself with my own money. They asked where my money had come from.

I lied, “I found it.”

“Where did you find it Mel?”

“It was on the floor outside.”

“How much did you find Mel?”

I told them how much I had and I could see my brother shooting looks at my parents. They did not react. They started to ask me if I had been painting that day. Well, I did not have any paints. There were paints at school, but we did not have any for us little ones at home. So I told them it was my felt-tips. I should have known right then that I had been caught out.

“Mel…have you been into your brother’s room?”

“Noooooo!” I fibbed again! My brother looked so cheesed off. But he waited for my parents.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is aulierwghe.png

“It’s just that when your brother went into his room a while ago some of his inks for painting had been spilt on his desk and chair and on the carpet and were on the handle of his magnifying glass. Is there any possibility that you might have been there – just for five minutes?”

“It wasn’t me. I didn’t go in.”

“There was some money missing from his room as well.”

…well, I couldn’t bear it much longer. I came clean. I admitted that I had been in my brother’s room and took the money. It took me longer to admit that I played with his inks though.


My parents sat down and reasoned with me. I remember what they said quite clearly actually. I did not understand why it was wrong to take something that did not belong to me. They wanted me to think of examples of people who took something that did not belong to them and what were the results. Now although I was a little girl, I was well read for my age. My first answer was Achan. Then I said Adam and Eve. Then I said Satan. I was devastated. My little conscience beat me severely. Mum and Dad had to cheer me up. They helped me see I had a choice though. Now that I had grasped how wrong it was, the question was would I do it again? Or would I make sure I did not repeat my action? If I had another opportunity to take something that did not belong to me, and the thought of taking it came into my head – what would I do with that thought? Would i keep on thinking about it? Or would I push that thought out of my head?

They confirmed that it is wrong to take something that belongs to someone else without their permission. Of course, I returned my brother’s money. I was told again that I must not go into my brother’s room without his permission. Funny enough, after that day, I was never tempted to steal anything ever again. I learnt that lesson at the age of five. My parents had got through to my heart the lesson that stealing was wrong. Better to enjoy treats with a good conscience, treats that did not come through dishonest means.

Sunset, Childhood, Joy, Good Luck, Baby, Girl

I think they had to work on my heart on other occasions until I grasped that lying was wrong. But I remember their patient way of sitting down and asking questions to determine how much we understood our own actions and whether we appreciated why what we had done was wrong. My little conscience was wide awake.

I learnt that it is very uncomfortable to have your conscience telling you what you did was wrong. I also learnt that the peace and happiness that come with doing the right thing are tremendous. I am so glad my parents helped me to grasp the conscience I had within me.

But I am so glad that my parents did help me to reason as a very small child on what was right and wrong. They helped me to understand when I had done something was wrong why it was wrong. They helped me to see that I had a choice – would I do it again? Or would I repeat my action? They helped me to see I could learn to control any wrong thoughts or desires and that there is a special happiness from choosing to do the right thing. I learnt that life is so much happier with a good conscience. An inner judge that says “Well done Caramel, good girl!”